Bad tenants don't pay their rent on time. They cause neighbor complaints for noise or roach infestations. They owe you a small fortune in late fees. They let unauthorized people sublet. They terminate the lease early without telling you or paying the penalty. And when they leave... you realize you've rented to BAD TENANTS who clearly never owned a mop or knew how to use one. Frustrating?? Definitely!!! And if you're a landlord or looking to become one, odds are you'll have some bad tenants of your own at some point.
While we would LOVE to share the NAMES of our Worst Tenants, we can't.
We can, however, share photos from our own experiences, and past experiences of our clients. It IS possible to avoid most BAD TENANTS but it takes patience, strategy and knowledge.
Pet damage: blinds like this one get mangled with pets that are left home during the day and constantly look out the front window waiting for their owner to come home. In this case, this damage was the result of two unauthorized large sized dogs. So the replacement/installation cost of a new set of blinds was claimed from the tenant's security deposit.
It's good practice for landlords to always provide window coverings on all windows. We recommend the inexpensive white plastic blinds found at Home Depot/Lowes. They are easily customizable for most any size window, easy to install, and look good when all window coverings inside the unit are the same. Then, if you need to replace one or many, they are a small expense and an easy, quick repair.
Providing window coverings prevents lots of additional holes from tenants installing drapery rods or other things that you may not approve of, or cause damage to the walls/drywall. Providing these blinds cuts down on future expenses/repair bills.
TOP FIVE WAYS PEOPLE BECOME BAD TENANTS
and COST LANDLORDS MONEY:
1) STOP PAYING RENT OR PAY LATE
(forcing eviction or costly legal action)
2) CAUSE PROPERTY DAMAGE
(holes, damage flooring, make unauthorized changes)
3) LACK OF CHANGING/CLEANING AC FILTER
(shortens AC life by YEARS, causes leaks & freeze ups etc)
4) MOVE OUT LEAVING EXCESSIVE FILTH/DAMAGE/ITEMS TO DUMP
(smells, deep cleaning, hauling/dumping costs extra $ AND TIME!!)
5) ADD PETS WITHOUT PERMISSION
(added legal liabilities, smells, damage etc can cost lots of $)
BEST REMEDIES TO AVOID THE WORST TENANTS?
COLLECT AS MUCH SECURITY AS YOU CAN and USE A GREAT LEASE!
(more about Security Deposits here)
It can be hard to predict how a prospective tenant will take care of your rental property. It doesn't matter what profession they are in. This nasty oven and AC closet door was left by a Miami-Dade teacher, mother of three.
Health hazards can happen when a tenancy goes unchecked for several years. There's no way to tell for sure how someone treats your property inside. Some tenants are hoarders, and apparently don't mind living alongside mountains of junk and generations of roaches. Got one of these? Invest $3-5k now, and it will be worth it to get them out and rehab. The longer you wait, the worse the situation gets, and the more expensive it will be to recover from the situation.
Terminate the lease. Florida requires certain verbiage, so make sure to use a good and lawful Notice of Termination. Equally important is serving it correctly. Once the tenants are out, clean - and clean again. Then paint. Paint everything. Then make sure the AC/ducts are clean. Then tackle the rest. These are the most important things to ensuring the attraction of much better quality tenants next time.
THESE TENANTS (below) WERE PROFESSIONAL,
VERY NICE PEOPLE THAT MOVED IN.
The place was given over to them in super clean, like-new condition.
Look how nice and clean the unit looks!
CONDITION WHEN THEY HANDED THEIR KEYS BACK??? BAD!!!
Claims on their security included charges for dumping food, trash and personal debris as well as a cleaning fee, carpet cleaning, and some repairs that were caused by the tenant. Many move-in photos were taken, so these photos were used to compare to move-out condition as well as proof to dispel any possible objections by tenants for claims or amounts.
How to avoid BAD TENANTS?? There's no 100% surefire way to screen for this. And sometimes things happen in life (divorce, medical, job loss etc) that can even make good tenants go BAD. We would love it if there was a real way to screen for tenant's pride in where they live, desire to live in pristine conditions, cleanliness or knowledge of how to use a mop and vacuum cleaner. It's amazing how tenants aren't embarrassed to leave property this way when they move out. But it happens. What are the remedies when BAD TENANTS strike? You may be able to claim their full or partial security deposit, you can sue them, you can send them to Collections, you can try to negotiate costs and get extra money out of them in lieu of legal/collections actions.
First step: get legitimate estimates for the clean up and repairs right away! Those are the amounts you'll use to calculate any claims on security. It's important to follow Florida Landlord/Tenant laws regarding security, and it's always best to have photos and documentation. Not holding enough in security to cover all the cleaning and repairs? Court, collections, attorneys would be next steps to consider. Tenants should ALWAYS return the property the same condition or better (minus normal wear and tear). BAD TENANTS LEAVING a rental property filthy, full of trash etc is unacceptable - and not protected by the law.
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