The average property manager has to deal with a variety of personalities among their rental clients. Most clients are responsible and respectful and communication is rare, perhaps only to report a broken appliance or to advise that rent will be a day late. Good property managers do everything they can to keep these kinds of renters happy by fixing things in a timely manner and keeping rent stable.
But what happens when the perfect tenant moves out and the tenant from hell shows up? How should a property manager handle a tenant that is irate, disrespectful, or abusive? If a tenant gets really angry, the situation can get out of control. The bottom line is that this is a professional relationship and measures must be taken by the property manager to handle the tenant responsibly and respectfully.
How a Property Manager should handle an abusive or irrational tenant
Contact Law Enforcement
In particularly out of control situations, it may be necessary for the property manager to contact law enforcement. Most property managers will see this as a last resort, however, preferring to deescalate matters themselves. The danger of contacting law enforcement is that it could enrage the tenant even more causing further damage to the relationship or acts of retribution such as damage to the property or smearing the property manager’s reputation.
When an exchange is becoming heated, it is wise to document everything. If a verbal conversation is not documented then it is like it never happened. If the altercation ends up in court, the legal team will need documentation to prove the case that the tenant was acting irrationally. Things to document include: threats, content of phone or face-to-face conversations, every missed payment date/corresponding notice, and pictures of damage done to the property. Also be sure to record the names and addresses of any witnesses.
Keep an Updated Communication Channel Open
Irritation can escalate when communication channels are broken. When a tenant cannot reach the landlord in the event of an emergency, this can be very upsetting. Imagine a tenant having an indoor plumbing issue, the message inbox is full and no one returns any calls. The tenant could be justified in being annoyed or even irritated, but not abusive.
Be sure to exchange personal and business telephone numbers with a tenant. This includes email addresses, physical addresses, message phone numbers, pager numbers, and any other forms of communication that are appropriate.
Take the Next Legal Step
If a tenant refuses to follow the agreement and rules outlined in the contract and all efforts to resolve a conflict have been tried but have failed; take the next legal step: eviction. A property manager / landlord is usually within the rights of the law to evict a tenant that poses a physical threat or is creating a threatening environment to management or their neighbors.
Go over the contract with the tenant once again, and reiterate the tenant and the landlord’s responsibilities. Leave the conversation open to any questions, concerns, or uncertainties. If the tenant continues to be rude, obnoxious, disrespectful, abusive or irritable; consider drawing up eviction papers.
This way, the property can go back on the rental market and a more suitable tenant can be found to lease the property. The best way to prevent any misunderstanding and avoid being involved in a shouting match with a tenant is to explain the property manager’s right to evict an irate tenant who will not seek a reasonable resolution. This clause does need to be inserted in the lease legally.
Son-Rise Property Management is a full service property management company located in Bellingham, WA. Contact us today to see how we can help you find the perfect home to rent or manage your property.