Tenant Conflict: 3 Common Issues Landlords Face

Rent property

While owning rental property can be an excellent source of income, it also requires a great deal of responsibility. Tenant management is an important part of a landlord’s job. By carefully screening every rent application, you can generally ensure that you have quality occupants in your rental units. However, every landlord faces tenant conflicts from time to time.

This guide will break down some of the most common issues that landlords experience with tenants and how you can effectively handle them. When you understand some legal basics and conflict management skills, you can minimize conflict and avoid these experiences in the future.

Failure to pay rent

One of a landlord’s biggest worries is a tenant not paying their rent. Unfortunately, this can happen even if all of your tenants showed clean payment histories on their background checks.

To prevent any conflict, it’s essential for landlords to have a clear payment system in place. A common system is to simply establish that the rent is due on the first of every month, and it is considered late if unpaid after the fifth. You should have a specific late fee in the lease that is due after the fifth.

Try to contact the tenant both in writing and over the phone, giving them a chance to explain their situation. If you get a hold of them, you can decide how to handle the issue. If you don’t hear from them, give the tenant a certain amount of time to pay the rent plus the rate fee — perhaps a week or ten days. After this period of time, you may be able to start the eviction process.

When you put this process in place, be sure to stick to it every time. You should also contact a lawyer to ensure that you are fully compliant with landlord-tenant law.

Property damage 

In most cases, landlords are responsible for the general upkeep of a rental property. You replace an appliance if it breaks, call a professional to have the gutters cleaned, etc. However, this is not always the case: if a tenant causes damage to your property, they may be responsible for paying for repairs.

Since it can be tricky to prove that a tenant has caused damage, it’s always essential to take photos before anyone moves into the unit. Then you can differentiate wear and tear from actual damage. For example, if the unit already had an old faulty window before the tenant moved in, they are likely not responsible when it gets stuck.

However, they may be responsible for broken glass or physical damage to the window frame. The same goes when tenants pour cooking grease down the drain and cause a clog. You may discover these problems when the tenant moves out, in which case you can likely deduct the repair cost from their security deposit. Again, it’s always best to get a lawyer’s professional opinion on these matters.

Lease violations 

Many landlords need to deal with tenants who violate lease agreements. A lease is a legal document, so there are consequences when a tenant breaks the rules outlined in the agreement. Some of the most common lease violations include unauthorized animals and the presence of additional tenants who are not on the lease. They may also have entered an unapproved sublet agreement and there is someone else living in the house or apartment.

To handle these issues, be sure that you clearly outline what happens if a tenant violates the terms in their lease. You might allow a certain period of time for the tenant to correct the issue: if they have not removed the pet or unauthorized tenant from the property, you may have grounds for eviction.

Remember that it is also best to consult a lawyer when a lease violation or tenant conflict occurs. If you take steps to evict an occupant, you want to make sure that you are in compliance with the law. The best way to handle any landlord-tenant issues is to have a clear process in place.

When you stick to your system, you can approach each conflict efficiently and logically. Doing so protects both your property and reputation as a landlord.