One of the most frustrating things for Long Beach landlords is dealing with bad tenants.
For one, landlords could ultimately get to the point of having to evict tenants who then leave behind damage and filth in your rental property. Additionally, after the lengthy eviction process, you will then have to find and approve new tenants, which can be costly and time-consuming.
But, instead of scaring you with all the possible problems, we want to help you handle terrible and unruly tenants with a proactive and preemptive program that will help you identify these kinds of tenants and avoid them in the first place.
Pay attention and keep track of your property
It’s easy to miss minor issues with your property at first, but small problems can escalate over time. It’s essential to keep on top of your rental property and check on it regularly.
Make sure that you visit all areas of your rental property regularly to look for any signs of damage or neglect. This way, you’ll be able to catch any problems before they escalate.
However, be sure to comply with California’s implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.
Have a thorough tenant screening process
A large part of finding good tenants is conducting good tenant screening. Even if the person seems like a great candidate on paper. When you have an organized tenant application process that involves credit checks, background checks, and references you are less likely to end up with a tenant who will bring you problems.
Keep communication lines open
It’s easier said than done, but it’s essential to have an open line of communication with your tenants. By keeping the lines of communication open, you can address problems as they arise instead of letting them linger and escalate into more significant issues. The more you know about your tenants and how they live in your rental property, the easier it will be for you to identify and prevent future problems.
Cash for keys
As mentioned, the eviction process can be lengthy and expensive. It can easily cost over $3,000 after it’s all said and done. That’s why some landlords prefer a “cash for keys” program as a way to handle problem tenants.
This simply means that you pay the tenant to leave rather than evict them. It can end up costing you a lot less and the tenant can avoid having an eviction on their rental history.
Be firm but fair
When you notice that your tenant is not treating your rental property well or violating the terms of the lease agreement, it’s time to act. However, instead of immediately wanting to evict the tenant, be patient and let them know that you are aware of their behavior.
Let your tenants know that they will have a set amount of time to fix the problem before you begin any disciplinary action. Once you’ve established a consequence for not fixing the problem within a certain amount of time, follow through with action when they don’t meet the requirements. Be patient by giving them time to fix the problem before acting against them.
Remember that there is always another tenant who will take the place of one who doesn’t work out. You can avoid most problems by thoroughly screening all your tenants and having good relationships with the people living in your property.
Create a written lease agreement and stick with it
Many tenants simply don’t read the lease agreement thoroughly and understand their obligations as renters until they break the rules. But, having a clear set of standards outlined in the lease agreement can give you something to go back to when needing to enforce it.
While it might feel uncomfortable to have so many rules, the tenants should know what’s expected of them when they sign a lease agreement. Make sure that you choose an appropriate set of standards for your rental property so that you can enforce them accordingly.
If a tenant violates a part of the lease agreement, you can simply refer them back to it. If they continue the behavior anyway, then you have a clear case for having them evicted.
Handle illegal activity with the help of the authorities
Illegal activity is one of the worst things that your tenants can get involved in. Illegal activity by tenants can be a grave issue for landlords. Not only can it result in fines and police activity, but it can also damage your rental property. Contacting authorities as soon as possible ensures a resolution quickly and holds tenants accountable for their actions.
Repair damage and keep rent payments coming in on time
The best way to deal with terrible tenants is to prevent them from happening in the first place by making sure that your rental property is in a good state and that your tenants are happy. You can do this by ensuring that the home is well-maintained and taking care of any issues right away.
Property damage, for example, can be very costly if it isn’t dealt with quickly. A detailed move-in inspection can help you catch property damage before it starts. You can also handle property damage by ensuring that your tenants know what they are responsible for and showing them the property beforehand.
Know when to say goodbye
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, problems can continue to occur with your tenant and remain unresolved. In this situation, it’s probably better for both parties to disassociate, but it may be challenging to ask the tenant to vacate before the term expires.
According to the Fair Housing Council of Orange County, if a tenant breaches the contract by failing to pay rent, damaging the property, or in any other substantial way, the landlord has the right to terminate the tenancy for a just cause.
If you believe it’s the best course of action for your tenants and property, start with a 30-day eviction notice as required by the lease conditions. The landlord can give a 3-day notification to quit for severe violation.
Landlord-tenant and eviction laws are complicated and having an experienced property manager and attorney on your side is extremely helpful to resolve problems with problematic tenants.
Are you tired of terrible tenants?
Working with a property manager that has a thorough tenant screening process, 24/7 maintenance request system, experience in dealing with tenants, and knowledge of all the laws can save you from ever having to deal with bad tenants yourself.
Long Beach’s leading property management company, CMC Realty and Property Management, offers its clients invaluable resources and services that will keep you and your tenants happy.