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How to deal with difficult tenants?

catalise property Buzz - AUTUMN 2019                                         by Sandie Casano

You know the one. He takes up 90% of your time and energy making others look like a walk in the park. He rings you at 10pm because the carpet has peeled off from the floor and leaves four voicemails in the space of an hour because everything is code red. The sight of his name coming up on your caller ID gives you a sinking feeling in the stomach. How do you handle

this without losing your work-life balance, your income, and more importantly, your mind?

Here are some tips to help you manage “difficult” tenants: 

Tip 1: Put everything down in writing

If the tenancy ends up in an argument then you want to have evidence speaking to your professionalism and compliance. If your tenant phones you about a repair request, follow the call up with an email confirming your conversation, the issue and a description of how it will be resolved. Once you have completed the repair, follow that up with another email to confirm and close the matter. Stick to the facts and leave the emotions out of it.
Tip 2: Reply to all messages

When you bury your head in the sand, the problem only compounds, it doesn't go away. When you don't return phone calls, your tenant will only pursue you more aggressively.

Tip 3: Your priority is not my emergency

Unless it is an emergency that poses an immediate danger to the security and wellbeing of your property and your tenant, you are not required to be on standby 24-7. Define what constitutes an “emergency situation” requiring your immediate attention at 10pm. Learn to ask about the details of the damage and whether there is any immediate threat to the safety and security of the tenant and property then act accordingly.

Tip 4: Be empathetic

Landlords often forget that what is your asset is your tenant’s home. For a tenant, everything that is wrong with their house is a priority. From their point of view, why shouldn’t you attend to a ripped carpet within 24 hours?! Give them a reasonable and responsible time limit within which they can expect a resolution.

Tip 5: Don’t despair

Don’t moan about a demanding tenant. At the end of the day, you are better off having a tenant who is meticulous and gives a damn than one who does not care.

And perhaps the most important tip of all? Hire a great property manager! Dealing with demanding tenants professionally and making sure none of this ever reaches your inbox and life is truly a day at the beach is part of what we do for you. Call me to find out the difference!