Tip of the Month - December, 2019
HOW TO HANDLE THE TENANT FROM HELL
Source: Business Week Archives (1997)
America's private Landlords, many of whom venture into real estate in pursuit of fat rent checks often fail to plan for nightmare Tenants-from raucous partyers and wife-beaters to drug dealers and scam artists trying to live rent free. The key, Landlords agree, is to avoid problem Tenants from the get-go---but always without discriminating against fully qualified, would-be Renters.
Cultural differences often require a Landlord to show flexibility and tact. For example, an apartment marketing consultant in Mission Viefjo, California, asked Asian Tenants to dry their fish heads at a relative's house, rather than on their patios. They complied.
Some problems, however, resist such gently persuasion and demand nothing less that the Landlord's ultimate weapon: Eviction! There was also the case of a Tenant's disappearing cats. With time, the trouble was linked to a cult worshiper, who was sacrificing the animals in his apartment, then throwing the carcasses outside. Because of unsanitary conditions, he was "endangering the lives of others" not to mention the lives of the cats. Easy call.
To survive nightmarish Tenants, even seasoned Landlords and Managers must be sure to keep up with changes in the laws which vary widely from State to State. The days when Landlords forced eviction by shutting off utilities unannounced or tearing a door off its hinges in Winter, are long gone. In almost all States, such practices are illegal.
Forget about any oral promises. Establish impeccable documentation, a rental application, written lease or rental agreement, termination notice and itemization of all deposits. Be consistent from the first moment of contact, treating all applicants in the same manner, regardless of age, sex, race, religion or physical handicap. Never steer Tenants to a particular unit because of their age, gender, or family status. Many Landlords now require prospective Tenants to show ID cards. Just remember, you may be violating the law if you require an ID from one candidate and not another. Remember, if you ever land in court---and assume that you will---the papers will support you.
This web page was updated on 12/01/2019.