Your original reason for becoming a landlord was earning some supplementary cash, but you also wanted to provide a great home for equally great tenants. Unfortunately, not every tenant who looks great on paper makes for a great tenant in actuality. Insurance by Castle understands common California tenant issues, and we also know how you can address them. Here are five common issues and how to resolve them.
1. Great Applicants Turn Into Terrible Tenants
Maybe you already have a current tenant who submitted a promising application but has proven to be a nuisance. You’ve received noise complaints, or maybe the tenant in question doesn’t keep public spaces clean, littering the premises with cigarette butts and trash. Because getting rid of bad tenants is not always as easy as you’d like, take steps to avoid making this mistake again. For starters, dive deeper than a credit check. Verify the applicant’s current employment, and get in touch with former landlords and employers to get an idea of the type of tenant and employee the applicant is. When conducting showings for potential tenants, use the opportunity to conduct an informal interview. What does this person want in a rental community? Why is she or he moving? What hobbies does the person have?
2.Tenants Stop Paying Rent, Or Fall Behind On Rent
Sometimes, tenants run into hard financial times, forcing them to fall behind on rent. Other times, tenants refuse to pay rent until you resolve a maintenance or repair issue. Either way, your income suffers because of late payments. In the case of tenants with financial struggles, offer them incremental payment options. Receiving a portion of a payment is preferable to not receiving a payment at all. Other options include allowing the tenant to pay rent and all applicable late fees over the remaining lease.
If the tenant hasn’t made a full rent payment in several months, downgrading to a less-expensive unit could work for you both. Offer to help the tenant look for roommates who can help pay rent.
3. Tenants Refuse To Pay For Damages
When you discover damage dealt by a current or former tenant, there could exist confusion regarding who bears responsibility for paying for repairs. Leases must stipulate what damages tenants bear responsibility for, such as cigarette smells in non-smoking units and bare patches in the carpet. On the other hand, damage resulting from maintenance issues such as molded flooring because of a malfunctioning dishwasher could be your responsibility as a landlord.
To remedy such a situation, determine who bears responsibility for the damage. You may have to grit your teeth and pay for damages if a roof leak you couldn’t repair for a few days caused extensive damage. In the future, walkthrough units with new tenants and take pictures of how everything looks, comparing those images to how the unit looks when the tenant moves out. Also, give new tenants a move-in checklist to note any damage that existed when she or he moved in.
4. Neighbors Complain About A Disruptive Tenant
You may have a tenant who plays music too loudly, has loud arguments or otherwise disturbs other tenants. In this instance, try to have the tenants initially resolve issues on their own without your stepping in, a clause you may want to add to future leases. This way, tenants may have an easier time reaching a true compromise that satisfies them both. If you have to step in, there’s a chance you may make a ruling that favors one tenant over the other.
5. Relentless Complaints
No matter the lengths you go to, you may find yourself unable to please every tenant. Should you find yourself hit with complaint after complaint from a single tenant, take measures to protect yourself and your sanity. For instance, if you suspect the tenant only complains to get out of the lease, you can add an early termination fee/option to the agreement. For complaints that involve maintenance issues, start charging trip fees if the maintenance crew finds that nothing is out of order. That said, consult with a legal professional to ensure you adhere to the law.
Tenant issues are inevitable when you become a landlord. Keep the above issues and solutions in mind to protect your sanity and your investment in your rental property.
Request a quote today from Insurance by Castle to learn more about our landlord insurance options. Discuss your situation with one of our agents and explore insurance options to avoid costly repair bills and to protect your investment.