Posted on Sep 28, 2017
One bad tenant can make your managed property a nightmare. If you’ve been struggling with a problematic renter, find out how to report bad tenants while staying on the right side of landlord tenant laws.
Talk to the Tenant First
When you have bad tenants, it’s natural to want to deal with them as little as possible. Be proactive and tell them you’ll be reporting any bad behavior, then define what you mean (e.g., violating a noise ordinance or paying the rent late).
Before approaching your renters, check the state laws regarding eviction, late rent payment or whatever your specific problem is. Laws vary state by state; when talking to your tenants, you want to make sure you’re presenting them with valid advice.
Keep Records and Take Action
After you talk with your tenants, start a log. Write down every instance of “bad behavior” and document the actions you took.
With past due rent payments, contact credit reporting bureaus. This can prompt tenants to pay to protect their credit score from a dip. If this action doesn’t get you the money you’re owed, seek the help of a debt collection company. Once you do this, you won’t have to spend your time asking renters for past-due rent; instead, you can focus on moving forward with evicting a tenant who won’t pay the rent.
Evict Bad Tenants
When evicting a tenant, you have to follow the law to the letter. You’ll need a valid reason for eviction, such as failure to pay the rent or damaging your property. If you’re not sure whether you have a valid case, consult with a landlord-tenant lawyer.
Since evictions can drag on in court, you might want to threaten your renters with eviction and give them one last chance to leave. Tell them that you’ll be suing them; if you win, you’ll be able to garnish their wages to pay back-due rent. Renters may opt to leave rather than go through eviction.
If they don’t leave, send them an eviction notice. Tape the notice to their door and send it via certified mail. You’ll need to wait a set time period after serving them the letter before you can file a lawsuit.
Learn more about landlord tenant laws in every state, and get help with an eviction, by becoming a member of American Apartment Owners Association. Members receive access to a database of landlord forms, including an eviction template. Customize the template, send it to tenants, and go through the legal process.
After you file, gather supporting documentation. You’ll present it in court, then a judge will find for one party. After that, your tenants must vacate by a set time period, and you’ll have your apartment back.