by Matt Roesly
When most people hear the title A Nightmare on Elm Street™, they think about a group of high school kids that are attacked in their dreams by a villain that goes by the name Freddie Kruger. In this article, we’re going to talk about a different type of nightmare that happens on Elm Streets all across the country – nightmare tenants. The difference is – these nightmares are real!
Although most tenants will keep the rental property clean, pay their rent in a timely fashion and adhere to all of their responsibilities as a tenant, there’s a chance that a landlord can rent to a tenant that disregards their rental obligations and become a nightmare for the landlord. Below is a list of some of the nightmare stories we’ve heard from landlords. Remember, once you allow a nightmare tenant to move in, it’s not always easy to remove them from your rental unit.
- Ignore “No Pets” rule and conceal damage to the rental unit until they move out
- Changing the locks without notifying the landlord
- Stop paying rent and remain in the rental unit
- Take revenge for an eviction notice, vandalizing the rental unit
- Move out without cleaning the rental unit, leaving trash and old furniture behind as your responsibility
- Excessive noise after hours aggravating other tenants
- Strip out molding, hardwood floors, or even copper wire for sale
- Break into coin operated laundry machines, or remove the machines altogether for sale
So how can a landlord protect themselves against these types of incidents? First and foremost, nothing can substitute for a solid tenant screening policy. Running a credit check, an evictions search, a suits, liens & judgments search, a criminal background check, calling previous landlords and verifying references are a few of the most important things to review before making the decision to rent to a tenant. Also be sure that you know all of the residents that will be moving into your rental unit, and have the ability to run checks on them. People with bad credit and a bad rental history often times have a friend apply for the rental unit knowing they will be declined – with good reason.
If a landlord allowed a nightmare tenant to slip through their screening process, there are steps they can take to limit the damage. Be sure to document all correspondence with the tenant as often times nightmare tenants lead to small claims court. Keep receipts for any repairs you make to the unit. If the tenant has stopped paying rent take any action your state allows to begin the eviction process. Be sure to take clear photos of any property damage found before and after the tenant moves out. Document everything!
There is also a new product on the market that can provide protection against damage to a rental unit and unpaid rent. The product is called SmartDep™ Security Deposit Replacement™, offered by MicroBilt Corporation. SmartDep screens the tenant then gives the landlord the ability to add damage and skipped rent protection to the lease agreement. This product can be very helpful if you allow pets, as it can include protection against pet damage to the property. Regardless of what company you use for screening tenants, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the damage renting to a nightmare tenant can cause is much greater than a traditional security deposit. Be sure to screen your tenant comprehensively to avoid nightmare tenants.
Source : microbilt