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Useful Tips For Landlords On Dealing With Problem Tenants

Aug 17, 2007
It is not uncommon to see landlords being victimized by bad tenants. There are innumerable cases where tenants who initially appeared to have a clean profile and nice attitude, suddenly turn vicious and start mistreating their landlord. When a landlord screens and interviews a prospective tenant he usually uses all possible means to find someone suitable, but sometimes these methods fail to work. Even with all the precautions a landlord takes, he often ends up with problem tenants like raucous partyers, drug addicts, or scam artists trying to live rent-free.

To avoid such problems, the first thing that every landlord should keep in mind is to document everything. Verbal promises are useless. If there is a disagreement, they usually prove to be quite useless. Establishing impeccable documentation, including the rental application, the lease or rental agreement, termination notice, and an itemization of security deposits will secure your position. Thereafter, if you land in court, these documents will be the proof supporting your case.

The next matter to consider is to treat every applicant on an equal footing, irrespective of race, sex, religion, age etc. Do not allot rental accommodations according to gender, age, or status, unless the tenant specifically demands it. These days, most landlords insist on tenants showing them their ID cards. However, it is illegal to demand ID cards inconsistently. Hence, if you do require verification by ID cards, then you need to check each and every applicant's, and not do it selectively.

The task of showing prospective tenants apartments requires a lot of time, but it is important not to rush it, or succumb to the impulse of trying to please the first candidate that comes along. Remember to question them thoroughly, and never let anyone persuade you to allow them to stay temporarily.

The next important step is to check the references thoroughly. If you think that it is a very time consuming process, or are not sure that you will do a good job, you can entrust it to tenant-screening agencies that will charge around $10-$20 per application, and will give you accurate data. Additionally, also run checks on the candidate's criminal, credit and employment background. A good source of information can be the tenant's previous landlords, but beware of the candidate's friends posing as landlords. Although all this may seem like a hassle, but it is nothing compared to the problems that unsavory tenants can create.

Make a lease agreement and make the tenant sign it before he moves in with his belongings. Making a tenant sign a lease agreement is especially important if he or she happens to be a student. For additional security, you can also ask the student's parent to co-sign the agreement.
Problems also often arise when the tenant is of some other nationality. These problems arise not because of the difference in nationality, but as a result of different traditions and customs, which can become awkward in an apartment environment. You need to spell out all the rules and conditions, documenting them and making the tenant sign it.

Personal bankruptcy is one of the problems that landlords are increasingly faced with these days. According to the law, you cannot evict a tenant if he has filed a bankruptcy petition. Although efforts are being made to change the laws, it will take time. In the mean time, you can master the legal paper work and boost your chances of recovering some of the money owed to you.

It can be tough being a landlord, and to survive it you should always be up to date with the latest tenancy laws and rules. Take regular advice from people who are experienced in real estate issues, or you can also take the help of self-help legal guides, or join a local apartment association, and save your apartment from problem tenants.
About the Author
Written by Kevin Kiene, founder of www.ezLandlordForms.com. Looking for a Lease Agreement, Eviction Notice, or a Rental Application for your rental property? ezLandlordForms offers professional landlord forms that you can create online and print right from your home or office. More than just forms, we offer the only web-based document system for landlords.
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