Every landlord gets one at some point: a bad tenant. We don’t just mean unpleasant or annoying tenants; we’re talking about terrible, horrible, no good, very bad tenants. If you are a landlord with bad tenants, there are a few ways you can legally protect yourself and your property. Bad tenants won’t stop to think about the consequences of their actions, so you should do everything you can to safeguard against their poor decisions.
Bad Tenants: A Landlord’s Nightmare
Legal battles are sometimes inevitable when it comes to bad tenants, but you can protect yourself for the future by following some of these steps.
Do Your Due Diligence
Screening can sometimes be the barrier that stops bad tenants from coming onto your property. Start with a background check, credit check, and income verification. Many tenants don’t know what they can afford, so by having strict rules, you can weed out those tenants that just won’t work out.
Clear and Legal Lease Agreements
Never be satisfied with a verbal agreement between you and your tenants. It is your responsibility to create boundaries for your tenants. Make sure that all important details regarding property rules are included in the lease. Update leases every year and make a new lease any time there is a major change like a subletting roommate.
Have Clear Expectations – and Consequences
Bad tenants will take full advantage of your leniency. Strict rules can be hard for some people to follow, but that’s a good way to find the bad tenants that need to go. Rules regarding communal property for apartment complexes or yard maintenance for individual properties should be clear and consistent.
If you own an individual property and don’t want your tenant to know you’re the owner, ask a landlord attorney about forming a legal entity under which you can control your property. This will give you an extra layer of security, and it will also save you in potentially sticky situations with unruly or rude tenants.
Evict if Necessary
It’s your property – you have the discretion to evict if necessary. No landlord who does his due diligence should have to suffer through bad tenants. Eviction cases can be messy, but that’s why landlord attorneys like Miller & Terry are here to help!