How do I deal with the Tenant from Hell?
Landlords periodically must deal with the so-called tenant from hell! They don’t pay rent, they damage rental property, and they threaten you with physical violence, they threaten to sue you, they make life miserable, and the are responsible for thousands of dollars in lost rent income.
Most of these tenants, have been through this rodeo before, and they know precisely how to get away with not paying rent…they know that the landlord will be glad just to get rid of them.
The tenant from hell has never been effectively dealt with, and for the most part, it’s because the landlord doesn’t know how to deal with them… because they never had to. Consequently, the rent income loss.
So how do you deal with an Individual that refuses to pay rent, makes excuses for not paying rent, is argumentative and combative at every contact?
To start with, you should have a screening process with criteria. Criteria? Yes criteria. EG
Prospective tenant must:
- Complete a rent application in its entirety!
- Must provide photo ID that includes Name, DOB and current address for inspection.
- Must provide proof of income and stable employment EG T-4 or pay stub with name, company name and amount paid.
- Must provide good reference from current landlord. Good tenancy.
- No evictions and/or unpaid rent from previous landlords
- No smoking allowed.
- Everyone inhabiting the rental must be named on the lease/tenancy agreement
- Must have proof of good credit history. Bills paid on time. And the personal information on the credit report must match the personal information on the rent application. If no credit history why not?
- Security and damage deposit paid before keys are handed over.
- You may wish to add more to your criteria.
- The single most important criteria…I REPORT RENT PAYMENTS EACH MONTH TO THE LANDLORD CREDIT BUREAU AND THEY ARE REPORTED TO EQUIFAX.
This is criteria that you need to use for every applicant.
Having criteria and sticking to it, sends a strong message to the prospective tenant. EG I am a professional Landlord. Reporting rent payments on tenants each month to the Landlord Credit Bureau sends a strong message to the prospective tenant. Pay rent on time, or it may become difficult for you to obtain rent in the future.
Back to dealing with the tenant from hell. So, despite your best efforts to screen the tenant, there are still problems as noted. Threatening, not paying rent, and just not pleasant to deal with.
As previously noted, often the landlord just wants to get rid of the problem, so either has the Individual evicted or manages to get rid of the Individual by promising not to report anything. This is one way out. Let him go away and you no longer need to deal with the problem. Well…what about the landlord who is going to rent to him next? Perhaps you’re not concerned about that, and obviously neither was the landlord who didn’t report his action before he came to you! Had the tenant from hell been identified, you wouldn’t have had the problem. But now you’ve lost thousands in rental income, and so will the future landlord. All because he wasn’t identified, because rent wasn’t reported to a reporting Agency. Reporting rent payments is the single most effective tool for preventing rental income loss.
Reporting rent payments on renters to the Landlord Credit Bureau identifies high and low risk. The tenant from hell being high risk.
Here is what else you can do that you may not know. If the tenant in your opinion has violent tendencies and has threatened, you.
- Advise the tenant in writing from the get-go that threats will not be tolerated, that a report will be made to the police advising them of same, and if the threats escalate appropriate action will be taken. If the tenant from hell can get away with it one time, he will do it again. Don’t let him get away with it.
- You should remind the tenant that rent payments are reported to Credit Reporting Agencies and failure to pay will have negative consequences for him.
- Call your local Police and advise that you wish to report a threat by your tenant for records and information. Insist on it, as they must take your report.
- If you don’t wish to deal with the tenant, get an Agent who will. ctiservices.ca will deal with your tenant effectively. You won’t need to.
Bottom line prevent this from happening in the first instance. Screen your prospective tenants which includes a consumer credit report from a service like www.tenantverification.ca Have your criteria that includes some of what is noted above. But most importantly report rent payment to www.landlordcreditbureau.ca to help identify good and bad tenants. If every landlord did this, the tenant from hell would have to change his rent habits. Or live with Mom!