Did Your Tenant Trash Your Property? Here’s 5 Things You can Do

Monty Schmidt, Nor Cal REI

You know what they say:

More money, more problems.

This can be especially true when you’re the landlord of multiple rental properties.

Many times, cash flow comes in steadily with little to no problems.

Then there’s that moment when you come to check on your property and find this:

What do you do then?

In this post, I cover 5 practical tips you can do when your property has been trashed.

Document Everything

As soon as you find out, make sure to take photos of the property in it’s current state before you decide to touch anything. Save any text messages or emails that you may have had with the tenant. Also, record any attempts you have tried to make in notifying the tenant of the property damage. This may be needed if you decide to go through with an eviction.

Negotiate with the tenant

If the damage seems accidental or the tenant has had a history of good behavior, find out what happened and see if you can work out a deal with the tenant. They may be willing to take full responsibility for it and agree to pay for it.

Before you decide to go through the emotional and financially draining process of eviction, there are 3 things that you can try to get your tenants to move out.

Just ask them to leave– it may be as simple as that. If you read the book how to Win friends and influence people, it can be much easier to do. If you’ve done a good job as a landlord, this can work pretty well sometimes. Don’t do it with anger or in a way that makes them defensive, but instead appeal to nobler motives. Be understanding of their situation and talk about how it can benefit them.

It’s always worth a try before you…

Try to work out an arrangement– the Second best option is to try to work out arrangement with them. Ask them what it would it take for them to just move out. Maybe they just need a moving truck or an extra hand.

Either way, giving them some sort of incentive to move can help them make that decision on their own- it doesn’t have to be money, It could even be a reason to avoid the negative consequences of eviction (like bad credit and reputation).

Offer cash for keys

Still not budging? Here’s one last thing you can try before going with the eviction.

Find out how much money they would need to relocate? Usually, it shouldn’t be more than 1 month of rent (although that’s not set in stone) It would be much more worth it to pay the tenant 1-3 thousand instead of hiring an attorney (which can cost a lot more in lost rent & attorney fees) to start eviction. You can even get away with giving them much less than that.

Let them know that the only way you can give them this money is if they agree to sign a document saying they are leaving the house in broom swept condition with no damages.

After you inspect the property they get their money and you get your rental property back without having to go through the painful process eviction. It’s amazing how fast people will move when you offer to pay them to do so.

Finally, if all else fails consider evicting the tenant.

Tenants who are carelessly damaging your property and are unable to meet their financially responsibility are a prime candidate for eviction. Make sure to find an attorney specializing in eviction to help the process go smoother. Be sure to handle the situation as calmly as possible – remember, they may still be able to damage the property worse while they are being evicted if things go out of hand.

What have you done to deal with problem tenants? Let me know in the comments below.