Advance Preparation Will Help Manage Needy Tenants
You may be the lucky person doing Pittsburgh residential real estate investing who never has to manage a needy tenant. However, regardless of the care with which you screen tenants, the greater probability is that you’ll run into a needy tenant from time to time. These advanced planning tips will help you manage those tenants.
Set Expectations Before Your Tenants Move In
Your rental or lease agreement should include descriptions of the tenant’s responsibilities, which will lay the groundwork for a good working relationship before the tenant even moves in. If you have community rules that tenants need to abide by, include those as part of (or as an addendum to) the agreement.
For example, rules about where to dispose of trash may not seem like something you need to put in writing. If your tenant decides that “close to the waste management area” is good enough, however, you need something in writing to support the rule that trash must be placed into the trash receptacle.
Make Complaining Easy
One of the biggest concerns of a needy tenant is that his or her voice won’t be heard. If the tenant ends up leaving six voicemails or texts on your mobile phone, the magnitude of the problem will increase each time. Automating the management of complaints and maintenance requests will save your sanity and help to satisfy the needy tenant. Once you have that written record, you’ll have another tool to use as you work with the tenant.
Enforce the Rules
Now that you’ve established rules, remember to enforce them consistently. For example, don’t accept late rent payments. A needy tenant will often have a long list of hardship reasons why the rent is late. Don’t negotiate with a needy tenant every month. Instead, explain that the agreement they signed indicated they could pay the rent on a timely basis, and stress that you expect them to do so.
A needy tenant can often turn into a tenant you need to evict. In that case, you’ll need a written history of the reasons behind that decision. Keep track of every late rent payment, every complaint and every time the tenant broke the rules. If you decide that eviction is required, learn all you can about the eviction process in California before taking any action.
Even before you’re facing a potential eviction, you can use the documented history of problems to work with the needy tenant to remove his or her “needy” status.
Maintain Your Composure
One of the most difficult things to do when dealing with a needy tenant is to remain calm. Keep in mind that it is possible to turn a needy tenant into an acceptable one. Losing your temper, or participating in emotionally charged discussions, will only reinforce the needy tenant’s behavior.
Make sure you remain in charge, and calmly explain the truth of the situation, backed up by the initial agreement and subsequent documentation.
Don’t Give Tenants Fuel for Their Complaints
A needy tenant will complain about everything. Maintenance is a big issue, so make sure you respond to maintenance requests quickly. When you set expectations for all tenants, you’ll also remove fuel for a needy tenant’s complaints. For example, needy tenants will probably dispose of their trash properly, but they’ll complain bitterly if others don’t.
Don’t assume that every complaint from a needy tenant is fictitious. If noise is a problem, check with other tenants who might recognize the problem but haven’t yet made a complaint.
Follow-up is also important. If you believe an issue has been resolved, check with tenants to confirm that they believe the problem is likewise resolved.
Managing needy tenants can take time and patience. If you’d prefer to focus your efforts on residential real estate investing, reach out to Wolfgang Property Management, who can provide professional property management services that will let you work on expanding your business.