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How to Handle Disruptive Tenants
As a landlord, you know not every renter is perfect. Whether they play their guitar too loud, have rowdy parties late into the night or are reckless and damage your property beyond regular wear and tear, disruptive tenants need to be dealt with promptly to correct their behavior and keep other tenants happy.
Once one of your tenants mentions a disruptive tenant, use these tips to re-establish their peace of mind in their home and your building.
Establish Quiet Hours
If your disruptive tenant’s vice is one that is loud and bothers other renters, consider establishing quiet hours — or reinforcing your already-existing quiet hours — to help your complaining tenant and noisy tenant compromise. Here’s how:
Reference local laws. Most localities have ordinances against loud activity for a set period of time every night. If you don’t already have quiet hours and want to avoid coming across as overly strict, reference the already existing local laws when speaking or writing to your tenants.
Post the hours in a common area. While your quiet hours are probably already stated in each lease or contract you have with your renters, posting it in a common area where everyone can see can help re-establish your building’s rules against loud activity late at night.
Create penalties. In all leases going forward, make sure you establish a penalty for disobeying quiet hours laws or clauses. After a first warning, consider fining your tenant for willfully disregarding the rules. For more information on integrating quiet hours penalties into your leases, make sure to speak to a contract lawyer.
Help Tenants Work Out the Issue Together
As a landlord, you can’t fix every tenant’s problems and make everyone happy at the same time. Sometimes, tenants can work these disagreements out between themselves, come to a compromise and move on. And you can help! Here’s how:
Get everyone’s side of the story. After a tenant complains, don’t immediately jump into punishment mode and accuse the other party of being a nuisance. Ask the complaining tenant to give full details of what’s happening — then, go to the other party and get the full story. Take notes, then take time to review each side before taking any action.
Set firm expectations. If you’re flimsy with your rules and don’t follow through on acknowledging improved behavior or penalizing a tenant for disregarding your warnings, disruptive tenants will continue to cause problems in your buildings. When an issue does arise, set firm expectations for your tenants on how they can eliminate disorderly behavior.
Best Practices for Handling Disruptive Tenants
Being a landlord is hard, even when your tenants are all respectful of each other and don’t cause any trouble. And when you have a tenant who disrupts your other renters’ way of life, it’s even harder. Use these best practices when you’re dealing with disruptive tenants:
Keep your cool. Whenever a tenant is approached about their behavior in their own home, things can get heated quickly. As an authority figure of the apartment complex, duplex or other rental facility, it’s crucial that you keep your cool and work to resolve any issues calmly. Keeping a level head will help you repair and maintain good relationships with your tenants.
Keep record of all interactions. Maintaining a list of complaints, interactions and communication with all tenants will help you better handle disputes — especially if the issue has to eventually be resolved in court.
Protect your tenants’ right to quiet enjoyment. As renters, your tenants are entitled to quiet enjoyment. That means they have a right to feel safe in their home with peace and comfort — and as a landlord, you’ll sometimes be responsible for protecting that right. That means keeping the community’s best interests in mind at all times, while avoiding or ignoring issues and taking the easy way out of conflicts.
Need more help growing your skills as a landlord? Check out our landlord toolbox — it’s full of resources that can help you keep your buildings in good shape and keep your tenants healthy and happy. And when it comes to insuring your rental units, your American Family Insurance agent is always ready to help. Reach out today and get the peace of mind you deserve.