With the knowledge readily available to tenants today, there has been an influx of the “professional tenant.” This tenant knows all the rules and regulations of their state. And therefore they know all the loopholes for taking advantage of owners. This is a new breed of tenant. And if you are not careful this person can take advantage of you.
Inexperienced landlords make many mistakes when it comes to collecting rent and evicting tenants. We have put together some guidelines for you to follow so you do not make these same mistakes.
- Waiting to Start On An Eviction- Do not waste any time. If rent is late by the 6th begin with a friendly phone call reminding them rent is due. Give them a quick deadline of 4pm that afternoon. If the rent is not received by them, swiftly serve them with a 3 day notice to pay or quit. This will show them that you mean business and are not to be messed with. Rent should be their most important bill and paid before utilities, insurance, etc.
- Not Always Enforcing Rules- If a tenant is late on payment, you MUST charge them a late fee. If you do not, they will be late next month. They will not see any negative consequence of paying late. They must be inconvenienced for your extra effort to collect their rent. Set a strong precedent and they will follow.
- Trying to Short Cut the Law- This may have been a great strategy before the day and age of internet. But now tenants are educated. They can quickly research laws and regulations. And if you do not follow the rules to a “T” they can backfire. If you go through an eviction but did not properly serve the 3 day to pay or quit, you must start the entire process over. This includes paying for the court costs again. Do not make this costly mistake. The tenants will know better.
- Not Maintaining the Upper Hand- You want to have a good relationship with your tenants. It will encourage them to stay at your property longer. Long term tenants will make for a great landlord experience. However do not try to hard to please them. If they are making unreasonable requests, you must remind them who is in charge. Keep the balance of power in the relationship. It is important to be friendly but not chummy. Being too close of friends will quickly backfire.
- Accepting Partial Payments- Rent is due in full or not at all. Accepting less than the full amount of rent can result in unfavorable assumptions in court. Do not accept less than full rent payment.
- Kicking Tenants Out- Do not try to get rid of a tenant by brutal force. Each state has a specific set of rules to follow to get rid of a tenant. Follow them and you will succeed. Try and use brute force and you will fail. It will cost you more in the long run in fees and headaches.
This list does not cover everything that landlords do wrong but if you abide by these 6 rules you’ll be miles ahead of your peers. It is great to be likable and maintain relationships with your tenants. Just be sure to keep the end goal in mind.