Late rental payments, unauthorised roommates, illegal activities – these are just a few of the tenant issues that most landlords deal with at some point or another. And even with the most rigorous screening process in place, some tenants just seem to want to cause trouble. It is often said that landlords should never go the DIY route in selecting and managing tenants, but how do you manage tenants that continue to break the rules? Below we’ve listed a few good ways to deal with tenants who refuse to pay their rent.
Stick to the law…
As much as you may want to kick down the door, change the locks and demand the tenant to pay their rent, landlords need to realise that there are certain laws in place that determine what they can and can’t do in such cases. Here’s a list of procedures that can be followed when dealing with a bad tenant, before seeking legal action.
- Contact the tenant to query the late payment. If the tenants expresses a problem and asks for an extension, our advice is to work with the tenant to reach an agreement.
- If the tenant still does not pay the rental on the agreed upon date, the landlord should send a written breach of contract letter which gives the tenants seven (unless otherwise stipulated in the lease agreement) days to pay the outstanding amount. The letter should also inform the tenant of the landlords intention to report the payment default to the credit bureaux in the event that the payment is not made. This can be done 20 days after the letter is received by the tenant.
- If the tenant fails to make the payment within seven days of receiving the breach of contract, the landlord must ensure that the tenant receives a written notice to cancel the lease agreement. This letter must indicate that the tenant must vacate the property immediately.
- If the tenant fails to leave the property, the landlord will need to seek legal assistance in order to proceed with an eviction order.
Dealing with an unruly tenant can be frustrating, time consuming and costly, which is why our advice is to ensure that the screening process is foolproof. Ensure that the applicant completes a detailed application which includes a copy of identification, three to six months bank statements, proof of employment, and references from previous landlords. Lastly, conduct a credit check with the relevant credit bureaux.
If you do find yourself having to deal with bad tenants, feel free to contact us at [email protected] for guidance.