Being a landlord may seem like a great way to pay the mortgage, especially if the rental unit is in a different section of your home or attached to it, as in a duplex or triplex. If you find reliable renters, this can be an easy and profitable situation. But sometimes, in spite of your best efforts to check out the applicant, you may end up getting a nightmare tenant. Here are four common problems with renters along with tips for dealing with them.
- Property Damage
Damage to a rental property is often not discovered until after the tenants have moved out. To prevent this from happening, conduct regular inspections during the duration of the lease. If you discover damage after the tenants are gone, withhold the amount of the security deposit necessary for repairs. If the cost of repairs exceeds the deposit, request payment from the tenants or take them to court. You can also hire a collections agency to pursue them.
If the damage is discovered while the tenants are in residence, send a written request for the cost of the repairs or ask the tenants to make the repairs and let you know when the work has been completed so you can re-inspect. If the tenants do not respond, either ask them to leave or let them know you will be using the security deposit to pay for the repairs once the premises have been vacated.
- Need to Evict and They Won’t Leave
You must have a valid reason to evict the tenants unless it is at the end of the lease, when you can choose not to renew. In most states, you must give notice to the tenants and allow them to correct the situation before beginning the eviction process. Some states require you to give notice at the end of the waiting period. This occurs after you file the paperwork for an eviction. To win in court, you must be able to prove your case or the judge may decide in the tenants’ favor.
If awarded the eviction, you must wait for whatever time the state allows for the tenants to leave on their own. After that period expires, you can return with the sheriff to the premises and forcibly remove the tenants and belongings. Never attempt an eviction without reading the Landlord and Tenant Act.
Pest control is an important aspect of being a landlord, but what if you are sure that your tenants brought in the pests? The responsibility may vary based on the wording in the lease. Some states specify explicit responsibility for certain pests, while others may be contingent on the type of pest and whether the unit is a multiple dwelling unit or single-family home. Ultimately, the landlord is often responsible for pest extermination, especially if tenants do nothing to remedy the situation.
Being a landlord brings its own set of challenges and hassles, but things can go much smoother if you know how to handle issues as they arise. When in doubt, contact an attorney or another knowledgeable resource to help you understand the laws in your state.