09 Apr Tenant Issues
From the nightmare tenant who stopped paying rent to the bad tenant who slid through your screening process, tenant issues plague landlords every day. Whether they are throwing parties each week that last until dawn or failing to control their barking dog, noisy tenants can make everyone’s life miserable. Let’s face it; property management is a critical part of being a landlord. From taking on too many responsibilities at once to dealing with complaints, screening tenants, and collecting the rent on time, the truth is managing and maintaining rental properties is often a challenging role.
For this reason, landlords may sometimes overlook tenant issues, or forget to circle back to deal with them properly. And when this happens, you could find yourself facing financial trouble or worse dealing with a lawsuit. While anyone in the rental housing industry will attest to the fact that it is impossible to avoid tenant issues altogether, knowing how to deal with them can mean the difference between being successful or not. With this in mind, we offer some insight on a few common problems landlords face, and how to deal with them.
Please Note: this information is not intended to be a substitute for qualified legal advice.
Problems Landlords Face
You have run background checks; have approved credit scores, and financial responsibility. All references have been verified and security deposit and rent checks have cleared. You have done everything possible to ensure your tenants will not only respect your property, but also pay the rent on time. Yet as a landlord you will still have to deal with some proverbial headaches, most of which are created by tenants. While background checks and high standards can help you reduce the number of tenant issues, a few common problems will still come up.
Tenants Making Noise
Noise is one of the more common tenant issues landlords face. Noise is all around us. But, when noise occurs in a rental property, it can cost a landlord both time and money. The noise issue can be hard to resolve since most occur in the middle of the night. While it can be hard to control the noise level at your property, you must act quickly to resolve this type of issue. That’s because the right to quiet enjoyment is at the heart of it.
Quiet enjoyment generally applies to anything that creates a legitimate nuisance. So how do you handle noise issues? First, determine if the complaint is valid. If you determine it is not valid, explain why and offer a solution both parties can live with. And, if the noise compliant is valid, you must address it immediately. For more on San Diego’s noise ordinance laws, read this document.
Tenant Refusing Access
Every tenant has the right to privacy. But that right must be balanced against the landlord’s right to maintain their property. From time to time, a landlord may need to enter a tenant’s unit to deal with emergencies, make repairs, and ensure their property is being maintained. While your tenants cannot unreasonably deny access to their unit, landlords must follow all state and local rules. According to California Civil Code §1954, a landlord may enter the dwelling unit only in the following cases:
- In case of an emergency
- To make necessary or agreed repairs
- Supply necessary or agreed services
- To make inspections
- To show unit to purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors
- When the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises
- Pursuant to a court order
- For the purposes set forth in Chapter 2.5
- To comply with provisions of Article 2.2
To deal with this type of tenant issue, follow the law and give tenants reasonable notice before entering their unit.
The Complaining Tenant
Lack of understanding about what actions to take when receiving a tenant complaint is a common issue. Tenant complaints are an unavoidable part of being a landlord. And, depending on the type of compliant received; you must be ready to respond quickly if needed. One of the biggest responsibilities to being a landlord is having a full-time commitment to your rental properties. This means being available all the time. Even if a major malfunction wakes you in the middle of the night. While emergencies might happen so infrequently, this does not pose an issue, it will if you have a tenant that likes to make mountains out of molehills.
From the water pressure being too low in the shower to the street parking being too crowded, a tenant who complains about everything is one that will take up a great deal of your time. So, make sure your lease agreement spells out what the tenant’s responsibility is as well as the landlord’s. Address all legitimate concerns affecting the overall living conditions promptly. And, make sure you always document everything. Here is more information on how to deal with tenant complaints.
Tenant issues come in all shapes and sizes. As a landlord, it’s your job to deal with the legitimate ones in a timely manner. Part of having a successful rental property is proactively managing your rental as well as any tenant issues that might arise. The reality is, dealing with tenant issues can take a toll on any landlord, especially those who would rather not deal with the stressful property management tasks. If this sounds like you, it may be time to consider hiring a property management company to do the work for you.