You are now the proud owner of a rental property? Here are some tips to ensure that you don’t end up with bad tenants.
Be wiser than the crow
Once in a while you’ll come upon aspiring tenants who are like the fox in Aesop’s fable, The Fox and the Crow. They are ever so polite and flattering, but they’ll trick you without a second thought. The situation can be particularly unpleasant when an abusive tenant disturbs others in the neighbourhood, perhaps by playing loud music at all hours of the day or night or by leaving garbage in the yard. But the situation is more painful to cope with when the problems caused by bad tenants are related to non-payment of rent or trashing the apartment. You could get stuck with damages, lost rent, or a lease you just can’t seem to break. You will need to learn to judge on more than appearances, as you’ll have to live with your choice of tenant for at least a year to come.
A thorough background check
For all housing rentals, ask to be provided with references from previous landlords before signing a lease. A credit check can be done, as long as you have obtained written permission from the candidates.
Some background-check corporations or owners’ associations can identify bad tenants from their records. In particular, they can check whether an individual has previously been convicted of non-payment of rent. You can subscribe to the services of such a company for an annual fee. Their services include:
When bad tenants have already moved in
Using as much tact and diplomacy you can muster, raise your concerns with the tenants in order to find a solution that suits both parties. If applicable, agree on the steps to be taken and the required timeframe for following them. If the tenant refuses to cooperate, pass to the next step without delay. This involves sending a formal demand notice by registered mail. If that is unsuccessful, you will need to consult a lawyer in rental and real estate law. Cases of lease termination and eviction are complex and require professional expertise.
Evicting bad tenants could cost you more than you’d like, but it is definitely better to nip the problem in the bud. You will likely have to pay for the following expenses:
The moral of the story
As in the Aesop’s fables, a moral can be drawn from this type of situation: you’re better off losing two or three months’ rent while you look for good tenants, rather than renting your property quickly and wasting a great deal of money and energy in evicting bad tenants.