According to IPropertyManagement, in 2021 about 35% of the national population rented their home. Rental arrangements are vital for many Americans and for property owners, renting real estate can be a profitable business. Many renters are great and cause few problems that are not easily dealt with by owners that have professional property management expertise. However, for the single property owner that is trying to rent an inherited property or a former residence, renter problems can be a real headache. We have recently written extensively about other tenant problems in Northwest Arkansas including squatting, and repairs and rental scams. Today we dive deeper into the top 5 common problems homeowners face with tenants in Northwest Arkansas.
Here Are The Top 5 Problems You Deal With When Renting Your House
1. PAYMENT SKIPPERS
We’ll start with the most typical issue, which is late or insufficient rent payments. If you’re shrewd, you’ll make it very obvious at lease at contract signing that your property management system is rigid and there is no room for late payment penalties and that the accountant will need to account for the late fees in the cash flow at year’s end.
No matter how wonderful a person you (or they) are, the greatest tip for handling late payments is to be firm. Otherwise, you’re courting difficulties down the road: the next time, five days late will be three weeks. The moment is now to let them know that late fees are final if you didn’t already (this is known as the “good cop/bad cop” strategy, with the accounting system acting as the bad policeman).
Send an email or make a call as a courteous warning when the rent payment (or partial payment) is past due to the point where your agreement specifies that action will be done within a few days. When that time arrives, then, do something, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Typically, this is a notice of nonpayment of rent with a deadline to pay or vacate.
2, PROPERTY DAMAGE
Property damage follows late rent on the list of the most frequent issues with tenants. Consider giving up the clipboard and using a mobile inspection app if you don’t already. They don’t just reduce inspection time by more than 50%; they also enable you to take images with your smartphone and incorporate them directly into the inspection report, providing you with the “before” pictures as proof in the event of later damage. When there is disagreement over an unapproved “improvement” that you feel is actually a detraction (like painting or shelving), things can become a bit complicated. You’ll have to evaluate each one individually, but your contract likely stipulates that the property must be left in the same condition as when you moved in. If the freshly painted walls are neon pink, it is their responsibility to repaint before moving out or to pay the cost with their damage deposit.
If there is damage, you should first ask the tenant to fix it in writing and retain a copy for your records. If the renter is unable or unwilling to tackle the situation, you can hire your own maintenance staff to complete the work and then bill the tenant. In the event of damage beyond ordinary wear and tear, your lease should explicitly grant you the authority to take this action.
3. PARTY HOSTS
Some tenants will sublet all or a portion of the rental without checking to see if you permit it. And now, in the era of Airbnb, some people have been secretly making reservations for short-term vacation homes. It is illegal in several places. At the very least, it’s extremely different from having the people you vetted and authorized there to have a parade of strangers fill the space. Neighbors frequently have unfavorable opinions of the practice.
Then there are house visitors, who can range from a friend who stays over the weekend on the couch (no problem) to a death metal band who moves in for a month of nonstop partying (likely a problem). You have more discretion over how to handle “unexpected guests” the more detailed the language in your lease is. Your tenants will claim that since they are paying their rent, they should be able to have anybody they choose to live with them if you have left the door wide open (no pun intended).
Some tenants are hard to contact. Others phone frequently and demand absurd things, such as the AC doesn’t seem to be functioning properly (after having been checked out twice), there isn’t enough hot water, a door is sticking, etc. Even calls concerning minor issues that they should be able to take care of on their own or as the lease stipulates are made. Don’t fall for complaining tenants; you have enough actual problems to deal with. The truth is that you are not compelled to take action each time they contact under any circumstances, legal or otherwise.
5. POOR PET PEOPLE
When it comes to animals living in your properties, don’t cut corners. A chew-obsessed dog or a territorial cat can cause significant damage and even make it difficult to rent the house when the owners go. Even if you do allow pets, you should regularly inspect the property to make sure no harm is being done. If you don’t permit them (service animals are not considered pets under The ADA), but you find proof of them nonetheless, you should take action before the renters pack up and leave and things get complex. Be prepared to respond if a renter asks if it’s acceptable to have, say, a few ferrets living in the house because many tenants these days possess unusual creatures.
Consider adding an additional deposit for renters who will have an animal. You can refund the extra deposit if you visit after the renter leaves and find everything is in order. If it is not, you have some extra cash to make needed repairs.
Of course, there are other kinds of problematic tenants, but these are some of the most prevalent in single-family homes. If problems persist evicting a tenant is not easy as there are laws in place to protect tenants. As you are surely aware, if a tenant has a current lease, you cannot simply evict them. Additionally, you are prohibited from putting them under duress by cutting off the water, altering the locks, or threatening them.
Only after you’ve tried your hardest to resolve the issue without success or when the tenant has engaged in illegal activity is an eviction recommended; in any case, you must follow legal procedures to carry it out. Follow this link for the Arkansas official laws for renters and owners.
How To Solve These Tenant Problems Once and For All
If you have grown tired of dealing with these types of problems over and over and feel the income is no longer worth the effort and stress, consider selling your home for cash as soon as you are legally able to do so in regard to your current lease.
At Little Rock Property Buyers, we buy houses in any condition. You do not have to make repairs to the damage tenants or their guests, or pets have caused. We buy the house as-is and will even take care of hauling away left-over stuff left by irresponsible renters. You can read more about how we work here. We have a great reputation in the community which you can read about in our Google reviews here. We will offer you a fair cash deal with no hidden fees, commissions or closing costs. We can move quickly allowing you to get out from under tax payments, insurance, or mortgage payments fast. Consider calling us for a no-obligation offer. Call us today at 501-580-3035.