As any longtime landlord can tell you, bad tenants are the nightmare scenario. There are rules and regulations in place to protect both sides of a rental agreement, but the details and day-to-day life can become unbearable with a truly bad tenant-landlord relationship.
We’re a premier vehicle for investing in rental properties at Americas Housing Alliance, and we’ve seen firsthand the issues that can develop if the relationship between renter and landlord goes badly. If you’re looking to invest in turnkey rental properties, here are a few general tips for keeping yourself insulated from bad tenants.
This credo should virtually be tattooed on your body if you’re the landlord of at least one rental property. Everything you send or state to your tenant should be done in an official, professional manner, with documentation to settle any potential disputes. For items where advanced notice is necessary (many, in this field), plan more notice than you think is needed and confirm with tenants that they’ve received any information.
If there are terms you think ought to be standard practice, but you aren’t sure whether to put them in your lease, do it. You being as specific and detailed as possible covers you later if anything happens.
For any important notices or letters not delivered in person, use a certified mail service to confirm legitimacy. This way, you avoid the “I never saw that” excuse that some renters may try to pull during difficult times.
Many neighborhoods have their own quirks or practices, from a neighborhood watch or home association to rules about parking, garbage, pets and more. Make sure you’re up to date on all these regulations, as doing so will make it much easier for you to find tenants who fit in with the general theme of the neighborhood and aren’t likely to cause problems.
You hope it never comes to this, but rental agreements can occasionally devolve into legal disputes. Some tenants may try to take advantage of renter’s protection laws, some of which are ridiculous, and you don’t want to be the one caught unprepared when this happens.
If you yourself aren’t intimately familiar with all laws and regulations regarding your rental agreements, you need to keep an attorney on your payroll who is. You need to keep careful records of tenants, especially problem tenants, including dates and details.
Most of any move-out issues go back to our “In Advance, In Writing” credo – if you’ve laid everything out properly, there should be no issues at move-out time. Some tenants may beg for mercy on security deposits or move-out dates, and while these decisions are up to you, know that caving on these gives other tenants the idea that maybe you’ll do the same for them. If you have to politely tell someone no, that’s just part of the game.
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