As a commercial landlord, you may occasionally encounter tenants who create problems.
Often a case of preparing correctly and monitoring a situation over time, here are some top tips on how to spot and how to deal with difficult tenants:
Visit the property regularly
It’s only by carrying out regular inspections that you will really gain an awareness of how tenants are behaving. Although you will, under normal circumstances, need to give 24 hours notice before accessing a property, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t set up a regular maintenance schedule.
While you are on the premises, take the time to talk to the occupants of nearby properties. Ask them whether they are aware of any problems.
Always remain professional
Since this is your business, it’s vital that you approach the task in a suitably professional manner. It’s all too easy to become angry and annoyed, which almost inevitably leads to an escalation of the situation.
A better approach involves being calm and polite. Make sure that you fully document all conversations and interactions too, in case you need to rely on that information at a later date.
As part of this professional approach, it’s vital that you should show a willingness to react to the requirements of your tenants. If you are quick to carry out repairs, for example, then it’s likely that you’ll be able to maintain a stronger, mutual relationship.
Ensure that your lease has been properly prepared
If you’re simply unable to avoid a dispute with your tenants, then it’s critical to ensure that you have a strong legal position. You should make sure that your lease agreement is properly prepared, by a qualified and experienced professional.
Carry out a full inventory
One of the areas that can often lead to disagreements is the state of the property when tenants arrive, or come to leave. In order to avoid any confusion, it’s worth carrying out a full inventory when tenants move in to the property. You should carefully note the state of all rooms and ask your tenants to check your findings.
When they come to vacate the property, you’ll be able to compare changes easily, against this agreed Schedule of Condition.
Investigate the financial situation of your tenant
Before a new tenant moves in to the property, you should always carry out checks on their suitability and financial situation. Make sure that you ask for references and that you follow up on them.
If you still have concerns, then it’s reasonable to request that the tenant pays a deposit, in case of any problems.
Monitor rent payments
If rent payments start to arrive late, or you notice that they are coming from a variety of bank accounts or sources, then this may be an early warning that a tenant is starting to encounter financial difficulties.
There may, of course, be a perfectly innocent explanation, but don’t hesitate to ask for more information about what has been occurring. Do not make the mistake of allowing rent arrears to become too large because you may find that it’s difficult to recover any money that is owed to you.
Be prepared to negotiate
If there is no agreement on a dispute, then you should consider reaching a negotiated settlement. It may even be necessary to involve an independent, third party. Such a settlement may represent a better solution than simply allowing problems to continue to grow.
Get professional advice
Hiring qualified professionals can sometimes seem like a needless expense, but you may find that taking such action at an early stage will lead to overall savings. Don’t be afraid to employ those who have real expertise.
This article was contributed by PropertySales.com, the market-leading directory of commercial property for sale from Dynamis, the online media group also behind BusinessesForSale.com and FranchiseSales.com