In an ideal world, every person who rents your home would be a model tenant. Rent would always be on time, and the house would be kept in tip-top condition.
Unfortunately, you are bound to come across difficult tenants in your time as an investment homeowner in the real world. Renting a home can be an emotionally driven decision on both sides of the equation. With such emotions tied to a conclusion, this may lead to conflict down the line if you and your tenants don't see eye to eye. Jacksonville property managers are well versed in navigating the tricky tenant-owner relationship.
Here are some tips to avoid a negative tenant relationship and what to do if you find yourself in a challenging situation with a difficult renter.
How to Avoid Difficult Tenant Situations
Handling tough tenants is always a challenge, but there are a few things you can do to avoid these situations entirely.
1. Keep the Relationship Professional
Establishing a friendly relationship with your tenants may be tempting. However, if the relationship between you and your tenants turns too friendly, it could cause issues down the line. The boundaries between tenant and landlord could get blurred. For example, if you have a pet fee policy or other restrictions for your home, establishing an overly friendly relationship with your tenants could lead them to believe you will be okay with multiple pets in the house with no pet fees.
It is also best to avoid renting to friends and family as much as possible. If something goes south with your rental home, this could forever alter your outside relationship with them. Succesful Jacksonville property managers maintain a professional relationship with renters.
2. Establish Clear Communication Boundaries with Tenants
As a landlord, it is important to be accessible to your tenants but not too accessible. It is essential to set a precedent of how your tenants can contact you from the initial communication. Think twice before giving out your personal cell number. The last thing you want is for your phone to be ringing at all hours. Set boundaries with your tenants on what hours they can call (outside of an emergency) and what constitutes an emergency. A good method of communication with your tenants is through email. You can limit the exposure to contact with email, and it automatically creates a paper trail of all your dealings with your tenants.
3. Set Standards Clearly, so Tenants Know What is Expected of Them
Setting clear boundaries and standards for your tenants to adhere to is a great way to foster a beneficial relationship. Having tenants sign a lease agreement before moving in is the best way to establish standards. Some of the most common standards a lease agreement should dictate are:
- When is rent due, and what happens if it is late?
- What maintenance issues are tenants allowed, or required, to handle?
- What is the pet policy for the home?
- What are the community rules?
- What are the move-out procedures?
How to Deal with Difficult Tenants
If you find yourself dealing with a tough tenant, these strategies can help you ease tension and protect your investment.
1. Be Patient and Calm
When you are in a combative situation with your tenants, staying calm is essential. Maintaining your "cool" helps to deescalate the problem and get it resolved quickly. Listening also goes a long way. Perhaps there is a challenging maintenance issue, such as the air conditioning failing, and the tenants are frustrated with it not being fixed yet. You may be doing all you can to help, but sometimes just letting your tenants vent can help them stay calm when they are heated (literally and figurately). Demonstrating a respectful relationship with your tenant encourages them to remain respectful toward you.
Hiring Jacksonville property managers means you will likely not have to deal with these escalated situations, as your property manager will handle each tenant on your behalf.
2. Keep Detailed Written Records
To avoid miscommunication and frustration down the line, keep communication with tenants in writing as much as possible. This could also come in handy if any legal conflicts arise. As a Jacksonville property manager, it is vital to keep detailed notes of your home dealings. Issuing rent payment receipts appeals to both the tenant and landlord sides. When dealing with an especially tricky situation, save all communication in a dedicated file or system for easy access should the need arise.
Advise tenants to submit work orders in writing and use a ticketing system to keep track of maintenance completed on the home.
3. Know When to Give Notice to Vacate
Despite all your efforts, you may come across tenants that are difficult no matter what. It is important to handle tenant complaints as they arise, but you should also acknowledge when tenants purposely look for trouble with their landlords. In the event of a combative and mutually unfulfilling landlord-tenant relationship, the best thing to do is give notice for tenants to move out at the end of their lease.
Get Distance From Your Difficult Tenants with a Property Management Company
Working with professional Jacksonville property managers can help you avoid all of this trouble with tenants. Hiring help can take an enormous weight off your shoulders. Save yourself some trouble and download our "Guide to Finding the Best Jacksonville Property Management Company" today!