Unfortunately, even with the best care, sometimes renters become hard to manage. At times, unhappy renters have valid concerns that need a resolution. Other times, residents cause problems intentionally and break the rules.
It's always critical for property owners to be diligent about finding a solution to disputes as quickly as possible. If you’re using a Maryland property management company, your Rent Estate™ Advisors will provide the support you need through these difficult conversations (or just do it for you). If you're handling rentals on your own, follow these tips to deal with tough renters.
Dealing with Difficult Renters: What to Do When You’re in the Middle of It
Working with a Maryland property management company may be your goal, but you need help and support right now. What do you do when you're already in the middle of a challenging resident situation?
Remain Calm and Listen
Don’t let anger or frustration get the best of you. Even if the immediate concern isn’t your fault, there’s no need to escalate the situation with emotions. Instead, be calm and patient. Listen to what they are telling you. Really listening can go a long way in diffusing a situation and finding the right solution.
Many times, listening is all it takes to diffuse a hostile situation. Whether there was a miscommunication about the rental payment or you made a mistake, take the time to engage unhappy residents and listen to their complaints.
Renters Are Not Your Friends
Relationships with renters can get difficult when they become too personal. It’s always best to keep relationships as professional as possible. Maintaining boundaries and monitoring interactions helps Maryland investors enforce the lease when necessary.
To do that, consider:
- Never renting to family or friends
- Avoid spending time with your renters
- Make appointments for all services provided (don’t just show up)
- Avoid oversharing information about your life
- Communicate during business hours when necessary
It's okay to be friendly with residents and build positive relationships. However, by eliminating this type of friendship risk, you ensure that your renters take you seriously, trust you, and respect you. That in itself may help to avoid difficult situations.
Keep Excellent Records
From agreements for service to conversations about late payments, keep everything in writing. A work order may seem a bit “old school,” but it ensures a timeline is set for scheduled fixes to maintenance requests.
Perhaps you did miss the timeline expected by the renter. Or, they may have failed to report the problem right away. In either case, having a written record of all communication helps ensure miscommunications don’t happen.
Use either paper or electronic documentation for record-keeping. A simple notebook that’s dated and kept in order can help to establish communications with your renters over time. You can also use an electronic method for rental recordkeeping. The key is to have documents and conversations properly dated and timed to provide accuracy later.
Many property managers recommend using a ticketing system for work orders. Choose one that’s best for your properties and processes. As you complete work orders, make sure they are checked off the list. If keeping track of work orders and documents is overwhelming, a Maryland property management company will do this work for you when you use their services.
Recognize Professional Renters
Many Maryland property owners spend a lot of time trying to please their renters. That’s good until you cannot please a specific renter who simply wants to cause trouble. Some renters are going to be difficult no matter what you do.
Professional renters purposefully look for trouble with their property owners or management companies. They often have an endless number of problems, and nothing you do seems to make them happy. They may also make accusations that are not true.
In these situations, remember a few things:
- Stick to what’s in the lease.
- Make sure you’ve had an attorney in Maryland create your rental agreement for you to fit local requirements.
- Sometimes, issues will go to court. Expect that.
- Know the laws for eviction.
- Never over-promise. Avoid being too specific about when something will be done or accessible.
It’s also helpful to show genuine concern when it is appropriate. Treat people with respect and make honest efforts to fix "solvable" problems, but minimize the belief that you can solve all of their problems quickly.
Hire a Maryland Property Management Company To Handle Difficult Renters
Hard-to-manage renters are a part of owning rental properties. However, with a few strategies and a Maryland property management company, investors can resolve disputes and better renters to minimize the risks of complications. Hiring the Renters Warehouse BW Metro Rent Estate™ Advisors is the support you need to reduce conflicts, avoid professional tenants, and maximize returns! If you're dealing with a challenging resident situation, reach and find out how we can help.
Learn more about finding an excellent property manager! Download our free resource, “The Guide to Finding the Best Maryland Property Management Company.”