4 Steps to Preventing Eviction Nightmares
When you purchase your first rental property and start meeting with potential tenants, you have stars in your eyes. You greet everyone like they are your friend and speak to everyone with kindness and respect. Even people who may scare you a bit. After all everyone needs to live somewhere, why not your rental…right?
It may take months and if you are lucky years, but sooner or later, if you self-manage, you will have to deal with bad tenants. Tenants you are constantly chasing for their rent payment. Tenants who let their kids color with permanent marker all over your freshly painted walls. Tenants who let their pets use your brand-new carpet as their backyard.
Your best intentions change. Your ideas of helping your community with safe, clean, and functioning rental property gets set aside when you see your property turn over and you have walls with more holes in them than unharmed walls.
These 4 steps can keep bad tenants away from your rentals.
Have a multi-step screening process. Qualify your potential tenant every step of the way.
Did they arrive on time for the showing?
Did they act appropriately as you walked through the unit?
Were they prepared with an application fee?
Scrutinize their application. You can do this with a variety of different checks and balances.
Yes, they take time but when you are rehabbing a unit due to evicting a bad tenant you’ll wish you spent an extra hour on your screening process.
Write out your criteria and stick to it, no matter what story your applicant gives you.
- Run a background check—if they have an eviction from other properties, you may want to pass on them as well. Any criminal history can cause problems for other tenants, neighbors, or yourself if the police are contacting you regularly.
- Run a credit check—if they have a history of late payments or are behind on other payments more than likely they won’t pay you either.
- Call their references—This can be frustrating and takes time, but you need to talk to previous landlords and find out why they moved from the property.
- Drive by their current residence—Are they keeping the yard clean? Do they have personal property stacked on the porch? These might be indicators showing they won’t take care of your property either.
- Verify their income—check your states rental laws, but if rent is more than 1/3 of their take home pay they can’t afford your unit. Don’t make them decide between paying rent and paying for groceries or gas.
Don’t be afraid to say “No”. You don’t want to put yourself or your tenants into a situation they can’t afford.
Always have your tenants sign a lease
Don’t leave the fate of your rental income up to chance. Have a lease with all of the property rules and regulations. Check with your state’s rental laws, but most require a lease to explain the cost of rent, what’s included for the rental amount, when it’s due and who it get’s mailed to, if you charge late fees, when and how much.
Explain who is in charge of repairs, what happens when their friends stay with them too long or when they can move in or have to move out.
This leaves nothing to interpretation on either side and safeguards both you and your tenants. When you speak with landlords who have had a lot of tenant issues, tend to be landlords who didn’t have a lease.
Tenants walk all over flexible landlords. Once you agree to something outside the lease agreement, you can expect your tenant to push you a little further next time. The lease allows you to hold them to written contract agreements.
Be the “manager”
If you have trouble enforcing the rules in the lease, don’t introduce yourself as an owner, be the property manager. This allows you wiggle room when talking with tenants. If a tenant requests something you can say you have to “check with the owner” for an answer.
If they violate the lease, evict them.
No landlord wants to evict a tenant. You rented to them with the intentions of having them live in your property for a good long while.
When tenants start violating the written policies in their lease, your only option is to evict. If you don’t their behavior will get worse and you’ll wish you would have moved forward with an eviction at the time.
You’ll find new tenants and they will find another place to live.
If you have a hard time putting any of these steps into practice, hiring a professional property management company, like Day Property Management would be an excellent option for you.
You eliminate the hassle of running ads, going to showings, screening applicants, signing leases, collecting rent and evicting tenants when they don’t follow through.
These daily tasks are what cause landlords headaches and frustration.
Property management companies follow rental laws. They protect owner and tenant rights at all times through every transaction.
To see how we customize a property management package for you, contact us today. Call 920-968-0626 or fill out our contact form here.