How to Handle Bad Tenants in Pittsburgh
Being a landlord isn’t always easy. The reality is, not all tenants are perfect. Unfortunately, there are situations when things go wrong and property owners have to deal with bad tenants. Problem tenants may cause damage to a rental property, disturb neighbors, or not pay rent on time. One way or another, problem tenants can be a big headache for an owner of a Pittsburgh rental property.
Bad tenants make it difficult for property owners to earn money from their rentals. That’s why it’s important to know how to deal with bad tenants. In today’s post, we’ll talk about different types of bad tenants and give you tips for dealing with them.
Types of Bad Tenants and How to Handle Them
- Late/Partial Rent Payers
Definition: Tenants who don’t pay rent on or before the due date according to the lease, or those that only pay a portion of the rent.
How to Handle: All lease agreements should have a specified date by which rent is due. Sometimes there is a grace period of a few days, and sometimes the lease specifies a late fee if payment is made after this grace period. Whatever the specifics of your lease are, a tenant is obligated to pay the full amount of rent on time or else there are legal consequences.
As a landlord you should treat this process as a business. You need to have a clear policy. It may sound obvious, but enforce the lease! If the lease is a legal Pennsylvania lease, it is a binding contract. Many landlords are hesitant to be too strict, thinking the tenant will move out and damage the property. While both of those things could occur, it’s better to have them happen sooner rather than later so you can move onto the next rent-paying tenant.
- Destructive Tenants
Definition: Tenants who cause excessive damage to the property. “Excessive” can be defined as damage that is beyond normal wear and tear.
How to Handle: For starters, the best way to handle this type of tenant is to have good documentation before the tenant moves in. For example, it’s a good idea to fill out a move-in checklist and have the tenant sign it at the beginning of the lease term. This is a document that lists all aspects of the property (e.g., flooring, appliances, windows), and the condition each is in at the time of move-in. It’s important to back this checklist up with detailed pictures of the property too. Having pictures and a signed move-in checklist will make it much easier to recoup damages at the end of a lease if court action is necessary.
Another thing to consider is including interim inspections in your lease. This will allow you to uncover potential damage caused by a tenant earlier in the rental period. If you uncover something during an inspection that violates the lease, send a written warning. If that doesn’t work, consider moving forward with an eviction.
- Noisy tenants
Definition: Tenants who are disturbing other tenants in the building or neighbors outside the building due to excessive noise.
How to Handle: Landlords need to take noise complaints seriously and address them quickly, as noisy neighbors can cause good tenants to become frustrated and move out. As with the previous two solutions, it’s important to document guidelines in your lease for how the tenant can use the property. These guidelines should include language about acceptable noise levels and “quiet hours”. If your lease has these, send a warning letter after the first complaint. If the problem persists, consider proceeding with a notice of violation of the lease.
- Excuse makers
Definition: Tenants who have an excuse for everything (e.g., late rent, property damage).
How to Handle: It’s critical to have a no tolerance policy when it comes to excuses. Enforce on-time rent payments by charging late fees the first time a tenant misses a rent payment, regardless of the reason they provide. If rent is still not payed, send an eviction notice as soon as you are legally allowed. If the excuses are about property damage, refer them back to the lease and the move-in checklist they (hopefully) signed. It will be impossible to dispute this documentation if the matter goes to court.
Selling a Property with Bad Tenants
Whether it’s a duplex, triplex, or 4+ unit building, one of the most common reasons people want to sell their rental property is due to bad tenants. This is true in Pittsburgh as well. If you have bad tenants in Pittsburgh and want to just sell your property to get rid of the headaches, give us a call. We buy rental properties in Pittsburgh, and can buy your rental property with bad tenants in under 30 days. Fill out our form below or give us a call to find out more!