3 Legal Ways To Deal With a Bad Tenant
As a landlord, you will need to deal with any number of scenarios no matter what you are landlord over.
Disputes between neighbors, rent payment delays, accidents and damage to your property, and more, but all of these can be handled pretty well most of the time. However, sometimes you just get a bad tenant.
The ones that break all the rules, never seem to pay, and can never be found whenever you start to look for them to collect. If you are at your wits end with a terrible tenant, but don’t know where else to go, this article will help you out.
Here are some of the best above-board ways to get a bad tenant out of your hair for good.
Issue a Valid Notice to Quit
A valid Notice to Quit is an eviction notice, and you need to fill it out and make sure the tenant receives it for it to be effective. It is a formal legal document that basically amounts to “fix the problem or you are out.” This is often done because the tenant has broken a clause in the contract, and the Notice To Quit is a warning to quit the behavior before they get evicted.
The Notice will give the tenant a few days from the date they are served to fix the issue, whether that is paying rent or fixing the broken clause in the contract. Depending on the state you are in, you might have to give a certain number of days, but many landlords will give a 3-day notice to quit, all the way up to a few weeks or even a 30-day notice to quit.
Then they must fix the behavior or pay rent before the time limit is up, or you as the landlord can begin eviction proceedings against the tenant. Just make sure to properly serve the Notice to Quit depending on the rules of your state.
Some states require you to deliver it to the tenant in person, others allow you to send it by mail or email, and others need to have the Notice delivered by a state marshal.
Control Them With Cash
About 80% of the problems you will have with a tenant will likely come from them either refusing to pay rent or simply being behind on it. You can use this to your advantage though, because you are the one in control of the property. One of the best ways to do this is to offer a cash-for-keys trade.
With a cash-for-keys trade, you confiscate their keys to the apartment or property and hold onto them until the rent is paid. It is non-traditional, but sometimes the added pressure will get the tenant to cough up the cash.
Bring In Legal Threats
As a landlord, both you and the tenant in question signed the contract whenever the tenant moved into the property. You would provide various services and keep the property a certain way, and the tenant would follow the rules outlined in the lease. If you break your end of the contract, legal action can be brought against you, and the same thing goes for the tenant too.
You can either hire an attorney or simply draft a letter yourself stating that you have put in a file for eviction in a court of law, and deliver it to the tenant. If you’ve already tried other methods of enforcing the lease agreement, then threatening to move forward with legal action can be the best way to show your tenant that there are consequences to their actions.
For the most part, things will deescalate before they ever get that far if you just send a strongly worded letter. But if you do need to go to court over it, at least you have the lease on your side. Conducting some surprise inspections on the tenant’s property can also be very helpful in establishing a record of the tenant’s bad activity.
You Have The Law On Your Side
Finally, don’t be afraid to butt heads with a disrespectful tenant, at the end of the day, you are the landlord and they are the ones who need to do what you say.