In comparison to last week’s post, this week we’re feeling a little bit more optimistic.
After all, the world of a landlord isn’t all doom and gloom. It can actually be quite rewarding!
And so, as a follow up to last week’s piece on surviving an eviction, today we’ll discuss how to prevent one.
If you’d like to catch up on last week, first, you can do that here: “Surviving the Eviction Process.”
The first (and possibly most important) step is to screen your prospects well. The best time to circumvent an eviction is right at the beginning, before you’ve even rented your property. Any problems you catch on an application, screening report, or during an interview will be problems you don’t have to solve later.
For a little more detail on the interviewing part, check out my article “How to Interview Perspective Tenants.”
Or try this Star Wars-themed rendition of what could happen if you decide not to screen. I call it “Renting Under the Empire.”
But what about all the paperwork, legal worries, and possible mistakes that come with the screening process? I don’t mean to brag, but, like, OnTAP’s pretty much got that covered for you. Our system includes a real online PDF application and criminal checks that match past addresses as well as names, making sure there are no errors. Plus, it’s totally free to the landlord. So who’s the real winner here?
Work with Your Tenants
Give a little grace if it’s a first offense and you know your tenants have fallen on hard times. Don’t make exceptions for them (that can get you accused of discrimination as we discussed last week), but work out a payment plant for that month in which they bring you a certain amount each week until the rent is paid. Each time they bring another payment, serve them a three day notice to pay or quit and ask when they can have the next payment to you. If they continue to pay semi regularly there’s no problem, but if they fail to fulfill their end of the bargain, you’re already in position to move ahead with the eviction. You must reserve the notice each time they pay, changing it to reflect the new amount of rent owed. Don’t let this continue for more than a month or two, but keep in mind that working things is mutually beneficial because they’ve got a place to live and you’ve got great tenants in your property.
Get the Paperwork
Make sure you have your prospects fill out an application as well as a rental agreement. This is important because if you have their information, you can ruin their credit with an eviction. Most tenants will do their best to avoid this.
OnTAP’s prebuilt online rental application is just the thing. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s sent straight to your prospect with one click. Need I say more?
Charge a Late Fee
Stick to your late fees if the rent is late. Lack of consequences often enforces behavior, while hopefully one or two fees will make sure the problem isn’t repeated.
Probably the second most important thing you can do is talk to your tenant. Often issues between tenants and landlords are simple matters of miscommunication. Perhaps the tenant was promised repairs when they moved in that never happened, etc. Problems like this can be easily solved. Don’t lose good tenants because you forgot to fix the drywall.
It’s best to keep in contact with your tenant throughout their stay to make sure you’re both on the same page. A healthy landlord-renter relationship takes work on both sides, yours just as much as theirs.
What are your best tactics for preventing an eviction? Let us know in the comments!