When you own apartment units as investments, there is one extra issue to keep in mind – the neighbours. When you have a stand alone property, there is usually a bit of space around to buffer anything your tenant may do, but units have thin walls.
So lets say for example you like your tenant, he pays his rent on time, looks after the property, hardly asks for anything and he pays top dollar for the unit – a dream tenant right?
Well there is one issue. The neighbors hate him!
You’re receiving complaints about late night parties, he refuses to turn down the volume of his music, has a jam band happening in his living room on regular occasions, and is also not a pleasant person the rest of the time.
So what do you do?
You don’t want to rock the boat because you want that money coming in, and there’s 6 months on his lease. Shouldn’t the neighbors stand up to him, rather than you having to find a new tenant?
This kind of issue is the most difficult to deal with as a landlord, but you have to act swiftly and firmly as the neighbors are entitled to enjoy their home just a much as your tenant does.
So the first step is to talk to your tenant and make it very clear that the neighbors are entitled to live in peace and comfort. If you have paperwork that he signed that outlines any additional requirements of living in the apartment complex – noise regulations etc. Then bring a copy, point it out and leave it with him. The big point here there is to make sure you give him the opportunity to improve his behaviour.
While you’re at it, make sure you tell him that you value him, and that you would like him to stay on – as long as he toes the line! You don’t want to take action against him as this will just follow him around. Hear what he has to say about the situation, and see if you can come up with solutions together. Appeal to his sense of decency and get across that if he gives respect, he will receive it.
Give him a timeframe to improve his behavior. This way you both know what is expected and let him know you will be speaking to the neighbours to let them know you’ve taken their complaints seriously. Make sure you do talk to the neighbours. Yes, you will no doubt receive an ear-full yourself, but better for them to see that you are taking action, than you being perceived as a money hungry landlord who doesn’t care.
If the tenant doesn’t improve, then he can be served with breach notices and you can start the eviction process for violating other residents’ quiet enjoyment of their home. Make sure you know these rules inside and out as they differ from state to state.
To save yourself a lot of grief, a Property Manager can take care of this sort of issue for you. Saving you the heartache and headaches that do come along when you have tenants. When you are self-managing properties it is all too easy to become close with your tenants and you can lose sight of the big picture.