Tenants from Hell: How to deal with them Part 2

Agent Guide

There are simply no guarantees that you will be able to generate the appropriate revenue from renting out your unit. Worse still, you might end up having a tenant from hell. Here are more tips which you can follow:

 

Trust the professionals

While it is ideal to have a friendly relationship with your tenant, certain ground rules need to be established to ensure a pleasant landlord-tenant relationship. Be upfront with your tenant on your expectations. This will give them a clear idea of what is expected of them, and at the same time, providing a platform for both parties to iron out the kinks before signing the agreement.

You should also explicitly state in the contract and made known verbally to the tenant, that all deposits will be used for any upkeep or maintenance that is directly due to the fault of the tenant. This will further safeguard you against inconsiderate tenants who failed to take care of your property.

Kelvin Chu, Marketing Director of ERA, advises landlords to engage licensed real estate agents to represent themselves when dealing with tenants. "It is to their best interests to have agents representing both sides and settle the tenancy agreement professionally with mutually agreed conditions and requirements stated clearly in black and white, minimizing any unhappiness or dispute that could occur," he explains.

One creative way to protect your investment, and make sure it is in good condition without you physically checking it periodically, is to incorporate the cost of maintenance into the rental. For example, you can ask for a higher rent and engage your regular part-time cleaner to clean the house on days that the tenant is at home. This way, you can be certain that your property is well maintained, and saving your tenant the hassle of doing the cleaning himself.

Be practical and cut losses early

In the most unfortunate event that you have encountered the tenant from hell, take quick measures to understand the situation and cut losses early if needed.

If the tenant has a habit of delaying payments, communicate with him and find out the issue. Is it because of bad financing or simply a lazy attitude? In any case, give him an ultimatum to set things straight. If things still don't work out, you can either consider charging him more for every late payment or end the lease early by giving him the required notice period as stated in the agreement to vacate. Understand that at the end of the day, you are running a business and not a charity.

Even if your tenant pays the rent promptly, do not simply take things for granted.  Consider arranging with your tenant to inspect the property every quarter or half a year. Once you notice something amiss, take actions and correct it with your tenant on the spot. This will show the tenant that you mean business and not an easy pushover.

Having said that, you should also give proper courtesies and respects to your tenants for they are ultimately your clients as well. Never appear unannounced in the house just to "spot check" on them. Give them the privacy they deserve.

Understand that if you treat your tenant badly, not only is he more likely to leave at the end of his lease, you will also not be able to count on him to take care of your property and be honest with you about things like broken fixtures or leaking pipes.

As Kelvin simply puts it, "being a good landlord is one way to avoid tenants from turning nasty too."

Article by Praise Poh, Contributing Writer

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