If there’s one thing that leads to certain landlord burnout, it’s constantly dealing with terrible tenants. For most rental property investors, a few bad eggs from time to time is entirely normal. However, for anyone who struggles routinely with poor renter experiences, late-payers, and non-stop complaints, it could be less about them being awful and more about your process requiring improvement. If you’re feeling the terrible tenants pains more frequently than you think you should be, conduct an audit on your end. And here are a few changes to help improve your experiences and theirs.
1. Conduct a Tenant Pre-Screening Audit
Sit down and really examine your tenant pre-screening process. We’re often sharing tips about what your application should include and which best practices you should always follow. For example, are you verifying income, past rental references, and credit history? If you’ve skipped any steps at all, you could be opening yourself up to ongoing renter problems. Don’t be pressured into getting a lease signed whereby you rush through any of those pre-screening steps. Here’s a quick checklist to help avoid terrible tenants:
- Earns sufficient income to afford your rent
- Confirm stable employment or household income levels
- Verify a history of timely rent payments
- Explore lifestyle compatibility with your property, like pets or smoking
- Ask for all the references, including past landlords, employment, etc.
- Inquire why applicants are moving
- Secure permissions to conduct background and credit checks
2. Re-Evaluate Your Tenant Communication
If your tenant pre-screening audit doesn’t turn up any missteps on your end, you can next examine and re-evaluate your tenant communication strategy. If your “terrible tenants” are complaining about having trouble reaching you, a lack of timely response from you, or delays in repairs, it could be that you have some communication improvements to make. Of course, you can’t be available on-call 24/7 for high-maintenance renters. But you should have a few key strategies in place whereby you routinely connect with your residents, promptly respond to inquiries, and have a reliable channel of communication. Consider these improvements.
- Software upgrades with tenant dashboards for digital submission of repair requests or inquiries
- Establish a process your tenants can follow for connecting with you during emergencies and non-emergencies
- Provide resources that offer convenient ways to pay rent, submit requests, and have access to documents
- Discuss your process for handling repairs and scheduling contractors upon lease signing, so renters understand your timeline
- Consider reaching out to your renters periodically, just to check in and verify satisfaction
3. Develop a Better Customer Service and Consequence Strategy
For some rental property owners, the fear of losing a tenant or the hassle of evictions leads them to put up with terrible tenant behavior longer than they should. It’s one thing to have a rotten renter. But it’s entirely another to have a rotten renter for more than a month. You could be teaching your tenants that you are willing to accept poor behavior without even realizing it. Take a closer look at your strategy for customer satisfaction. And then take a look at how “by the book” you are about taking swift action to impose consequences.
Make sure you’re first defining the landlord-tenant relationship through a lens of customer service. Lay in the efficiencies and conveniences renters want. Be professional and polite, and take the time to make sure they’re safe, satisfied, and singing your praises.
Then, for every violation from late rent to property damage, be swift and immediate about notices, late fees, and consequences. Again, maintain professionalism and politeness as you send official notifications of the violations. And don’t go a day later when implementing those fees, so your tenants know you mean business and intend to abide strictly by the terms you’ve outlined in the lease.
4. Bring in the Property Management Partner to Avoid Terrible Tenants
If you’re struggling with what seems to be a terrible tenant trend, it might just be best for you to bring in the property management partner. Let a professional step in on your behalf to handle everything from pre-screening renters to enacting evictions. Remove those unnecessary headaches and let a pro like PMI JCM Realty Group handle everything!
At PMI JCM Realty Group, we’re routinely sharing the latest in rental property investment, including emerging trends in Tampa’s real estate market. If you’re looking to drastically improve your landlord experience and bottom line, sign up for our free webinar. There you can discover relevant strategies for investment improvement success. It’s the must-watch webinar, too, with real-world tidbits for How to Streamline Your Rental Portfolio for Maximum Growth! Area property investors in Tampa and beyond, just like you, will find something useful to take away.
Don’t forget to get social, too! There are always readily available answers to the most pressing investment questions within our Facebook group. Join the ongoing conversation and collaborate! Feel free to reach out directly to others who are looking to achieve similar ROI objectives with their investments. Exchange suggestions and ideas, and talk about emerging challenges with other rental property investing professionals. And should you have unique questions that may require a more in-depth or tailored solution, schedule a meeting on my calendar; let’s connect!