“Ask Kari” is a monthly, Question & Answer feature from Kari Negri. Kari has two decades of property management experience, is a featured speaker at many industry trade shows, such as AAGLA’s annual trade show, and is the CEO of SKY Properties, Inc. in Los Angeles.
This month’s question comes from Taylor in Los Angeles: “Hi Kari, what are your tips for dealing with problem tenants?”
Hi Taylor! What a great question! Unfortunately, some residents choose to become a consistent problem for the community at large. Examples of problem tenants might include non-rent payers and chronic late payers, disturbing neighbors despite warnings, loud and inconsiderate behavior, mysterious repairs and do-it-yourselfers, hoarders, people who don’t want you in their unit for any reason, constant maintenance requesters, agitators, and non-fee payers.
When your community is fed up and ready to make a change, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Tip 1: Enforce building rules consistently.
Your community rules are the same for every resident. Make sure to enforce them consistently with everyone so it is common knowledge what the rules and what is expected. Your entire community will appreciate the clarity and consistency.
Tip 2: Document everything. Everything.
Keep a written log of behavior. This is critical if you ever end up in front of a judge regarding the problem tenant. Document by taking pictures. Document by installing security cameras (which have become very inexpensive). Document by keeping copies of letters sent to the problem tenant regarding incidents; as well as, any letter or note received from your tenant.
Tip 3: Keep emotions out of documentation.
Simply stick to the facts when recording incidents, writing and serving notices. Stay objective in your observations.
Tip 4: Serve 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit immediately if Rent is due and not paid.
Non-payment of rent is usually (not always) the easiest and fastest way to evict.
Tip 5: File immediate police reports for any illegal activity.
If illegal activity occurs, it’s critical to file a report immediately. As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, you should already have a relationship with your SLO (Senior Lead Officer), with whom you should keep in the loop and can advise on best ways to protect your building and tenants.
Tip 6: Raise their rent.
Bringing rents to market is a common practice and a good idea for cash flow consistencies. With problem tenants, always serve a rent increase as soon as it is legally possible.
As always, please remember, I am not an attorney. Seek clarification through your attorney. All articles are simply an opinion. Stay in touch at www.GetSky.net
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