In the property management world, the relationship between the landlord and the tenant is extremely important.
A good relationship between these two parties makes it easier to make changes to the lease agreement, settle disputes, and handle problems with the rental property.
However, when the tenant-landlord relationship is not so good, problems can arise.
These problems can affect the landlord in a plethora of ways, from missing the tenant's rent payment to not being able to complete an eviction process.
In this guide, we will be going over the best ways for landlords to protect themselves from tenant harassment. We will also be discussing some of the most common things that tenants to do harass the landlord and how to deal with them.
So, to get started, let's go over the general meaning of landlord harassment.
What Does the Tenant Harassment Entail
When somebody thinks of harassment, they will likely think of something very harsh or extreme. However, harassment can be as small as making hurtful comments, verbal abuse, or disturbing other tenants.
In property management, tenant harassment can entail many different actions from the tenant. One of the most common occurrences is when the tenant refuses to pay rent. This is an excellent example of harassment as it is extremely inconvenient for the landlord and can even lead to an eviction.
Another way that landlord harassment occurs is if the tenant violated the lease terms or any rules that apply to the rental unit. This is harassment as the tenant is completely going against the rules stipulated in the agreement and can cause the landlord a lot of trouble.
Other common forms of harassment against the property manager or landlord include:
- Lying about rent payments
- Causing multiple noise complaints
- Causing excessive property damage
- Making threatening phone calls/emails
- Refusing to evict the property
- Violates other tenants' rights to habitability
Although some of these are more extreme than others, they are all considered harassment and should be properly dealt with by the property owner, manager, or landlord.
Now, if the landlord is being harassed, there are a few things that they can do to deal with the bad tenant. But, there are also many things that should never be done by the landlord.
In the next section, we will be going over some of the things that should never be done as retaliation by the landlord.
How NOT to Deal With Tenant Harassment
Before going over the most effective ways to deal with these troublesome tenants, let's go over some of the ways that you should not do it.
Threaten the Tenant Back
One of the most important things to note is that if you are being threatened by a tenant, you should never threaten them back. If you are being threatened, it is essential that you maintain your professionalism and respond in a calm and mature way.
The reason that threatening the tenant is never a good idea is that you can then have a lawsuit filed against you. This is obviously not a favorable course of action for the landlord and should be avoided.
Change the Locks of the Property
If the tenant is harassing you while still residing in the rental property, it is never a good idea to change the locks. Not only will this escalate the situation, but it is also actually against the law.
So, if you do change the locks, you can end up having to deal with a lawsuit. Therefore, it is recommended that you deal with the situation in other ways.
Remove the Tenant's Belongings
Just like changing the locks of the property, removing the tenant's belongings is also against the law. Since the tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment of their home, the landlord barging into the property and taking all of their belongings is not allowed.
Thus, even if the tenant is harassing the landlord, other courses of action must be taken.
But, what should the landlord do when they are getting harassed by the tenant?
In the next section, we will be covering the best ways to deal with these troublesome tenants.
How to Deal With Tenant Harassment
Now that you know about the worst ways to deal with tenant harassment, we can go over the best ways to do it.
Asking the Tenant to Stop
The first step in dealing with any problematic tenant is to kindly ask them to stop. You can do this by sending them an email, letter, message, or anything that can be recorded. It is essential to make sure that all communications are recorded as they can be used in court someday.
Sometimes, the tenant will come to reason with the landlord and agree to stop the harassment. This usually happens if the landlord clearly explains the consequences that they will face if they continue the harassment. If they agree to stop, the landlord and the tenant simply continue to coexist until the lease is expired.
However, if they do not agree to stop, the landlord may move on to more severe methods of dealing with the harassing tenant.
Start an Eviction Process
If the tenant refuses to stop the harassment, the landlord may be left with no choice but to begin an eviction process. An eviction process can be very costly for both the tenant and the landlord. It can also be a very lengthy process and can even lead to violent altercations.
The first, and most important step, is to send the tenant proper notice. This eviction notice should be a written notice and should alert the tenant that they are being evicted and let them know what rights they have in the process. From there, the landlord must follow a few legal guidelines to make sure that the entire eviction goes as smoothly as possible.
If these laws are not followed, the landlord can end up in big trouble.
Want to read more about your state's landlord-tenant laws? Visit DoorLoop's Laws Page to learn all about your state's landlord-tenant laws and eviction laws.
Contact the Police
If the tenant assaults you or threatens to do something that puts you in any form of danger, you should contact the police. The reason that the police must be contacted is that the landlord has been put in danger, so they require protection.
This could lead to the tenant facing legal consequences and sequentially being evicted from the property.
If the threats were especially threatening, or if the landlord still feels in danger, a restraining order should be requested. For this, however, the landlord should keep a copy of the police report to help their case.
These are the main ways to deal with a tenant that is causing trouble. But, one question remains, how can all of these problems be prevented in general?
In the next section, we will be going over how to prevent having to deal with problematic tenants in general.
How to Avoid Dealing with Tenant Harassment
Once you have managed to deal with the tenant that has been causing trouble, you may be wondering how to avoid having to deal with it again. While you can never be sure about how a tenant is going to behave, these methods will give you a solid idea.
Below, we have listed some of the best ways to make sure that you are getting a good tenant.
Run a Thorough Background Check
Before moving on with a tenant, it is always advised that a thorough background check is run. A background check allows the landlord to discover any criminal background, eviction reports, credit reports, and anything else that could affect the landlord.
It is important that a trusted and reliable source provide this service as the landlord would need the most accurate and updated information possible.
Contacting Previous Landlords
Another great way to get an idea of how the tenant will treat the landlord is by contacting previous landlords. The previous landlords will be able to tell you everything about that tenant's rental period, including any problems or disputes.
If the tenant has no previous landlords, the employer can also be contacted. Although they are not a landlord, the employer can also give insight into how a tenant behaves themselves and if they are reliable.
In conclusion, handling tenant harassment will never be something easy. There are various ways that the landlord can land themselves in much trouble, so it is vital that the entire process is conducted with care and caution. Be careful and good luck!
When dealing with these situations, having a good grasp on basic landlord-tenant rights is very helpful, click here to learn all about it.