Dealing with Difficult Tenants in Your Property

5 tips for landlords when dealing with difficult tenants and situations in your rental property.

How to Deal With Difficult Tenants and Situations in Your Rental Property

In an ideal world, there would be no conflict, everything would run smoothly and we’d have no problems with each other ever! It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we do run into conflict from time to time. The good news is that most tenancies do tend to run smoothly! But it’s always wise to be prepared, especially as a self-managed landlord. In this post, we’re going to talk all about how to deal with difficult tenants and what to do when issues do arise.

What are some of the problems that may arise with difficult tenants?

  • Late or failing to pay the rent
  • Unnecessary hassle or complaints
  • Causing damage to the property
  • Being disruptive to the neighbours
  • Being involved in illegal activity (rare but it happens!)

Read More - What happens if my tenant is late to pay their rent?

5 Tips for landlords when dealing with difficult tenants and situations:

1. Stay Cool and Calm

This is a great tip when dealing with any type of conflict but is especially useful for dealing with difficult tenant situations. Blowing your lid and getting angry at the first sign of an issue isn’t a good way to get things resolved. Try to take your emotion out of the equation and discuss things calmly to determine what the next step is.

2. Collect all the information

Don’t jump the gun - be wise and ensure you collect all of the information about the situation before you make any decisions.Take a step back and determine if there is an easy solution or middle ground to keep both parties happy. Letting a tenant out of a lease or evicting them should really only be used as a last resort.

3. Know Your Rights (and the law)

The Lease Agreement should first thing that you should be armed with as it details both the tenant’s and the landlord's rights and responsibilities. You should refer back to it whenever you need support. In terms of the legislation in Australia, there is different legislation in each state that deal with residential tenancies so it can sometimes be confusing on what is allowed vs not allowed. Make sure you are reading the correct legislation for your state as it will dictate what action you should take.

You can contact the relevant authorities for your state below:

NSW: Residential Tenancies Act 2010 No 42 / NSW Fair Trading

QLD: Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 / Residential Tenancy Authority

VIC: Residential Tenancies Act 1997 / Consumer Affairs Victoria

ACT: Residential Tenancies Act 1997 / Justice and Community Safety

SA: Residential Tenancies Act 1995 / Consumer and Business Services

WA: Residential Tenancies Act 1987 / Department of Commerce

NT: Residential Tenancies Act 1999 /Consumer Affairs NT

TAS: Residential Tenancies Act 1997/ Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading

4. Be a Good Communicator

You may be surprised at how quickly something can be resolved with good communication!  Sometimes issues can be a result of or get exasperated by misunderstandings or miscommunication. It’s important to communicate and acknowledge issues clearly and in a timely manner. Picking up the phone or sitting down with your tenant in person is sometimes a quicker way to find a resolution than going back and forward on email where tone can be lost or misunderstood.

5. Make a Record

Record in writing all communication where you can a this can be helpful for the future if you ever need to take further action. It’s always good practice to record things so that they can be referred to if ever required by both parties.  If it’s a phone call or in-person meeting, you can follow up with an email afterwards confirming the points that were discussed.

What happens if you can’t come to a resolution?

It’s rare but coming to an agreement isn’t always possible in some cases and there needs to be further action that needs to be taken. Never fear though, you do have options if you can’t come to a resolution and depending on the situation, these may consist of:

  • Issuing of a Breach Notice
  • Issuing a Notice to Vacate
  • Issuing a Termination of the Tenancy Agreement
  • Making a case with the Tribunal in your state

The processes for the above are all different in each state however we advise avoiding the tribunal at all costs (where possible). It’s much better to come to a peaceful agreement and have the tenancy continue than to go through a long-drawn-out legal process, losing money along the way.

At RentBetter, we believe that giving landlords complete control over their properties and being in direct communication with their tenants and forming relationships means that they are much less likely to run into issues with their tenancy.

What is the best way to avoid difficult tenants?

Other than having an iron-clad Lease Agreement in place and ensuring you conduct regular inspections of your property throughout the lease, the best way to avoid bad tenants is to protect yourself through tenant screening. As the saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than the cure’.

On RentBetter you can run comprehensive tenancy checks from the National Tenancy Database (NTD). These checks help you evaluate applications quickly and easily. All you need to do is enter applicant details into our digital form, submit the request, and the report will be available for download. It’s that simple.

If you’re a RentBetter customer, you’ll be able to access reports at the discounted price of $18.

  • Use the market-leading identity verification solution from Equifax
  • Check tenants have not been reported on the NTD bad-tenant blacklist
  • One report with info on past bankruptcies, court records, and ASIC data

Don’t run the risk and make sure you protect yourself - Find out more here.