Assisting Property Managers and Landlords in Dealing With Problem Tenants
All landlords hope they will not encounter problem tenants and it is likely that you would never sign lease agreements with new tenants with the expectation that they will cause stress, headaches, or financial losses. Unfortunately, no matter how careful your screening process is, problem tenants are a common among landlords in Connecticut, and you must handle the situation appropriately to protect your rights and interests as a landlord.
At the Landlord Law Firm, we can guide you through the process of dealing with a problem tenant—whether it’s resolving the matter with the tenant and finding common ground, or terminating the lease agreement and seeking an eviction. If you believe that a problem may be arising in one of your properties, it is never too early to discuss your rights and options with a highly experienced attorney at our firm.
Do You Have a Problem Tenant?
Tenants can cause many different types of problems. Such issues may not seem so serious when isolated, but when repeated they may begin affecting your finances, your other tenants, and your overall peace of mind. Common examples of problems you may have with tenants include:
- Repeated late or missed payments
- Unauthorized roommates or subleases
- Complaints from neighbors about excessive noise or foul smells
- Suspected illegal activity
- Damage to property
When you successfully handle a problem tenant, you generally get one of two outcomes: The tenant either ceases the offending behavior or you effectively end the tenancy. Not every situation is that simple, however, so keep the following in mind when dealing with a problem tenant.
Look to your lease agreement – The groundwork for effective resolution of tenant issues should be in the lease agreement signed by the tenant. Your lease should clearly state unacceptable behaviors for tenants, including smoking, excessive noise, pets, roommates, nonpayment of rent, and more. The lease should also set out the implications of such lease violations and your rights to enforce its provisions as well as applicable laws.
Keep careful records – Tenants likely will not admit their wrongful behavior or violations of lease agreements. To ensure your interests are protected, carefully document all interactions you have with tenants, which can include informal or formal warnings, requests for rent payments, communications regarding complaints from other tenants, and more.
Require anyone on your property management team to keep accurate records of what happened. This can help to avoid any claims of discrimination, retaliation, or other unfair treatment in violation of fair housing laws. If the tenant’s conduct warrants involvement from city officials or authorities, obtaining copies of their findings and reports will also assist in addressing the situation legally.
Know your rights – Landlord-tenant laws specifically address legal remedies for problem tenants, and these laws can vary depending on your state and locality. It is imperative that you discuss your rights with a law firm with extensive knowledge of landlord rights under the law in Connecticut so you are certain about the possible legal remedies you can seek.
Take Legal Action When Necessary
You must maintain safe, healthy properties for all of your tenants, but ignoring problem tenants often puts your relationship with other tenants at risk. For this reason, taking action is often necessary to address and resolve these matters. You can go about this several ways, and a skilled landlord lawyer practicing landlord-tenant law can help determine the most favorable and efficient manner of resolving any situation.
In some cases, discussing the matter with tenants in a business-like manner may be enough to rectify the issues. Be sure to be respectful and objective with the tenants—even if they become emotional. An attorney who is experienced in such communications can help devise a plan for the conversation or can assist with negotiations to resolve the matter. When you successfully handle problem tenants in way, they are not displaced and you are not forced to find a new tenant or seek an eviction. Everyone wins.
However, sometimes discussions and negotiations are not enough to resolve problems with certain tenants. Our attorneys have deep experience in countless circumstances where legal action is necessary and appropriate, and we can advise you when we believe this may be the case. Our legal team will then guide you through the entire process of serving proper notice under Connecticut law and filing a complaint to compel vacancy if the tenant refuses to comply with your notice to vacate. You must follow specific procedures in these situations to successfully evict problem tenants, and our landlord attorneys will protect your rights throughout every step of the process.
Be Prepared to Handle Problem Tenants
While no landlord expects to have a problem tenant, you can take certain steps to prepare yourself and your property management staff in the event such tenants present themselves. We can help you with all of the following:
- Training and education – We can devise specific materials intended to train and educate you and your staff about how to handle tenants in ways that best preserve your rights under the law.
- Policies and procedures – We will assist in developing policies and procedures so that you can consistently and efficiently handle problem tenants.
- Thorough lease agreements – We can draft lease agreements that thoroughly address unacceptable behavior and clearly specify your remedies as a landlord should a tenant violate those provisions.
Discuss Your Situation with an Experienced Connecticut Landlord Attorney
If you need any assistance in dealing with problem tenants or have any other concerns as a Connecticut landlord, please look no further than the Landlord Law Firm. We have a significant amount of information available in our landlord advocate catalog, but to discuss a specific situation or concern, please call (203) 874-4747 or write to us to consult with an experienced landlord lawyer today.