It’s the nightmare of all Landlords, the Bad Tenant.
No one wants them, and you’re probably kicking yourself that you may have been able avoid them, ‘if only’ you had done X,Y, Z. Well you can’t go back in time, so the next step is to deal with them here and now.
But what do you do?
First of all it depends on what is happening? Not paying rent, being rude to the neighbors, destroying your property (pulling out water heaters, tearing up the floor, setting fires etc)
To figure things out, go talk to them. If their rent is late find out why. Is there a family crisis going on? Did they just get laid off? Or did their pay cycle change at work and it’s creating cashflow problems? If your tenant has been in your property for sometime and you have never had a problem until now, talking to them and working something out, maybe a work out best for everyone.
But what if it’s a bit more serious than rent being late a couple of times? What if they truly have destroyed the property? Still, go talk to them in person. Let them know that you have been forced to evict them, but you would be willing to waive the eviction if they could be out of your property by the end of the week (or alternate date) with all their belongings. This means that an eviction will not be on their record, remind them that an eviction will make life harder for them in the future. Before going ahead and offering this compromise, make sure you are legally able to do so. If you are in Victoria, read about how much notice you need to give here.
If they practically spit in your face over the is offer, and you are legally able to, then give them notice. Make sure you follow the rules to the letter. This is a good time to get advice from your lawyer to make sure it goes smoothly.
Just get it done. The worst thing you can do in this situation is drag the chain and hope that things will sort themselves out. They won’t, and the sooner you can reclaim your property, fix it up and put the nightmare behind you, the better.
Don’t be surprised however, if you get a few more nasty surprises as they are heading out the door. It’s not uncommon for truly bad tenants to add even more damage to a property ‘just because they can.’ Take a deep breath and thank your lucky stars they have gone and you can learn from the episode.
In the future to avoid this heartbreak, make sure you go through all the steps of weeding out bad tenants. You can read how to do this here, here and here. Or you could employ the services of a property manager and they will take care of this for you.
Have you had to deal with this? What was your preferred method of getting rid of the tenant?