3 Things Landlords and Tenants Argue About
In a perfect world, all of your tenants would pay on time, take care of the property as if it were their own, and follow all the rules. Unfortunately, as a landlord, you already know we don’t live in that kind of world. Instead tenants don’t always pay on time, some wreck a rental before vacating, and you may find your property turned into a party house or worse.
When this happens, you have to confront your tenants and deal with the problems. This leads to tension, confrontation, and loss of time and money. It’s easily the least pleasant part of renting property. For anyone considering becoming a landlord, beware of these three common disputes between landlords and tenants.
1. Security Deposit and Damage to Property
You know you’re entitled to keep the security deposit needed to repair damage to your property after a tenant vacates it. When you walk in after they leave, you expect normal wear and tear, but you could find ripped carpets, broken appliances, holes in the walls, ceiling fans that don’t work, missing fixtures, and all kinds of damage. You notify your tenants you won’t be returning their security deposit, and the argument begins.
Your tenants may dispute your claim on their deposit, stating they left the home in about the same condition it was in when they moved in. Their damage may be so egregious that you decide to file a claim in court against them for the cost to repair the home - a hard claim to win and even harder to receive payment for. One way to prevent this disaster is to take photographs of your property before the tenants move in (make sure the pictures are dated) and keep those records until they move out and you’re satisfied the property is in good condition. They can argue with you, but it’s hard to argue with pictures.
2. Code Violations
We’ve all had those neighbors - the ones who have parties that are loud and rowdy until dawn, neighbors who park anywhere they want, and homes filled to bursting with people. Law enforcement is called, the crowd disperses, and you’re able to get some sleep until the next party. Now imagine those are your tenants in your rental property causing those problems. Even worse, when law enforcement walks in, they find drugs, underage drinking, and other illegal activity.
If your lease states that tenants must comply with local laws and regulations, you may have a case for terminating their lease and evicting your tenants. However, if you didn’t include the language in the lease, and they continue to pay the rent, you may have to wait it out until the end of the current lease agreement. It’s a stressful situation for you and everyone else who lives in the neighborhood with your tenants.
3. Not Paying Rent
Non-payment of rent is a big problem for landlords. It’s usually your worst nightmare. Tenants promise to pay and don’t or pay only a portion of their rent. Meanwhile, you’re not receiving the income you expect which may cover the mortgage, taxes, and/or insurance on the property. At the same time, you’ve got to go through the headache and expense of the eviction process.
Make sure you follow Florida law to the letter or you won’t be able to evict your tenants and find some who will pay on time. Time must be given to allow your tenants to make payment. You must give them written notice - verbal won’t count this time. And no, you cannot physically evict the tenants yourself. Of all the difficulties you may experience with a tenant, this one is probably the most stressful until it’s over.
When you work with a dedicated and professional property management team like ERA American Real Estate, we make sure leases are written properly so they protect you and your property. When there is a dispute, we step in and act as a go-between for you. If your tenant must be evicted for non-payment or a lease violation, we’ll handle the process from start to finish. Disputes with tenants are stressful, but they don’t have to consume your life as long as you work with a team who can take care of it for you.