Finding a good tenant can be a hassle because you wish to have someone who is easygoing and pays the dues on time. Don’t worry, though. Our blog on interviewing a potential tenant will help you with that. If this is the first time you are thinking about letting your property and unsure about what to do if things start going south later, then you have come to the right place. In this blog, we have identified some of the most common types of problematic tenants and what landlords can do to deal with them.
Pro Tip: Always draft and sign a rental agreement with the tenant and get it registered so that both parties are legally obligated to fulfil the conditions.
Landlords Dealing With Problematic Tenants
Finding the right tenant from whom you don’t have any complaints is a blessing. It makes life much easier. For first-timers, it is important to read the tenancy laws of the province they want to rent their property in. Each province bestows certain legal rights upon landlords as well as tenants that can’t be violated.
Tenancy laws not only protect both the parties but also ensure accountability. While there are some issues due to which landlords can ask tenants to leave, trivial matters like difference of opinion or cooking something unpleasant can’t be used as grounds for eviction.
A problematic tenant can be a landlord’s worst nightmare. Before we go into the details of how to deal with troubling tenants, let us first identify the common types of problematic tenants that a landlord may encounter.
Common Types Of Problematic Tenants
Following are some common types of tenants to whom you wish not to rent your property.
- The late payers
- The home-wreckers
- The troublemakers
- Using property for illegal purposes
The Late Payers
This is one of the most common problems that the landlords often face after they rent their property. Once or twice can be understood but people make it their habit to pay late which results in the next instalment being even more delayed.
You should make it clear while signing the agreement that how much delay in payment of rent can be tolerated. It is wise to add the late payment clause in the contract to be on the safer side and make it abundantly clear verbally as well to let the tenants know about your strict rent payment mechanism. Never at any point should the tenants get any idea that late payments can be tolerated because if you let it go a few times, it develops a pattern and you will receive payments even later.
These are people who literally wreck homes, as in they cause damage to physical residential property. This particular type of problematic tenants isn’t as common as, let’s say, someone who doesn’t pay their rent on time, because nobody likes to live in a house or apartment that’s messy or looks dilapidated. That said, this sort of tenant is also hard to identify. Usually, landlords who don’t visit their property often discover the extent of damage only after their tenant leaves.
According to the landlord-tenant law in Pakistan, if the property has been damaged because of a natural disaster or fault in internal wiring or plumbing, the owner will take care of the maintenance and its charges. But if a fixture or any other part of the property is damaged by the tenant, the latter will have to bear all the charges.
Some tenants, while regular with their rent and careful with other people’s property, can be noisy, rowdy or just plain rude. And this can cause problems for the landlord. For example, not all residents of an apartment complex find late-night noisy gatherings agreeable.
In the initial screening process, you must try to identify such tenants by asking relevant questions. Before you rent your property to a tenant, you must explain to them in detail about the neighbourhood and if there is anything they should know to smoothly blend in with other residents of the building or street.
Using Property For Illegal Purposes
The rental agreement should clearly state the purpose for which you are renting the space. Some tenants may use the property for a purpose that has not been specified in the rental agreement and fail to formally inform the landowner. For instance, a tenant may open a salon or an in-house bakery. This is basically using the landlord’s property for selling services and products for personal gain. By doing so, a tenant breaks the initial agreement and is, therefore, accountable for using the property illegally and unlawfully.
How To Deal With Problematic Tenants
Now that we have discussed common types of challenging tenants, let’s see how you can effectively deal with them.
- Thorough screening process
- Regular inspection of the property
- Step in if necessary to resolves issues with neighbours
- Serve Formal Notice
- Eviction Is The Last Resort
Thorough Screening Process
The screening process before letting your property is very important to identify the right tenant. This may feel like a long process but it will prove to be very beneficial for you as a landlord.
Start with the background check to confirm where the potential tenant is employed. This will help you in screening out the candidates who have lied about their employment and source of income. If they have lived in rented space previously as well, ask them about their former landlords and speak with them about their history and the reason why they left.
You also need to verify with the law enforcement authorities if the potential candidate holds any criminal record. After you have rented your property, you should use the online tenant registration system in Pakistan to register your new tenant with the nearest police station so that as a landlord, you and your property are both safe.
Regular Inspection Of Property
After every few months, you should ask the tenants to give you a tour of the property to see if it needs any maintenance. It will also give you an added benefit of checking the property for any damages that have been done by the tenant which should be charged to him.
In today’s world, it is easier to see the before and after condition of letting your property to a tenant by taking pictures of every room. You can see if the property has been damaged during the time of occupancy of the tenant and who needs to pay for it. If you see the tenant is not maintaining the property and the overall condition is deteriorating, address it sooner than later and serve a formal notice if required so that you have proof.
Step In If Necessary To Resolves Issues With Neighbours
It is not necessary that your tenant is always at fault or has a chip on their shoulder. But it could be possible that the tenant is not following the norms and traditions of a neighbourhood. There could be a lot of problems because of which neighbours may get agitated such as parking a car in front of their house, being noisy every night or domestic violence. It will become a concern for you if this persists and soon you will be required to step in.
If the tenant is unable to resolve the problem himself, you may intervene before the matter extends further and gets out of hand. You will need to act to resolve the matter so that a peaceful environment can once again be secured. However, if the issue continues, serving a notice should do the job which will have a bigger impact on the tenant rather than you.
Serve Formal Notice
A formal notice serves as a warning as well as a proof in case a matter gets to court. If your tenant has broken the agreement or the landlord, for any reasons whatsoever, requires control of their property, a formal notice has to be served and the tenant has to be given sufficient time to clear the property.
A notice is not only served to evict but it can also be given to inform the tenant about the renewal of the lease or increase in rent. Even the tenants have to give prior notice to the landlord before leaving the property. If the tenant fails to understand the importance of all the notice(s) served, the landlord is forced to ask the tenant to evict the property.
Eviction Is The Last Resort
Eviction means asking a tenant to clear the property. It is a bold step which landlords have to take in case the tenant has been problematic for a long time and does not respond to any notices. If a tenant has been asked to leave the property, the situation will be far worse for the tenant than for the landlord because the former will have to find a new place to live in the same budget.
If you face such a situation being a landlord, you must know about the eviction laws in your province so that you can not be challenged later. Having a valid reason to ask them to evict is most important followed by a formal notice that will serve as proof. Giving an extra chance to the tenant may work in some cases but if the tenant has been a continuous source of trouble for you, it won’t work.
To start the eviction process you first need to file an eviction in the property court and you will get a hearing date. You need to be prepared with all the copies of the relevant documents as well as the events that you think will support your case. If the court rules in your favour, it will give the tenant a certain time period to pack their stuff and leave the property. If they fail to do so, you can ask the police for help.
This is all you need to know about how to deal with problematic tenants. If you are a landlord, you should also know about how to draft a rental agreement.
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