Property managers who think they have found an easy solution to dealing with problematic tenants by simply getting rid of them may be doing themselves out of potential future investors.
New laws introduced in Tasmania this month allow property managers to change locks and ‘devices’ when a tenant is subject to a family violence order, with the residential tenanacy commissioner now responsible for deciding on unreasonable rent increases and making repair orders following tenant complaints.
However property managers believe the best way of clamping down on problem tenants is to start on a good foot before problems get to that stage. Should problems escalate, use the threat of a tribunal to clamp down on unacceptable behaviour.
Let’s Rent Managing Director Lisa Indge said dealing with problematic tenants is easy and stressed if an eviction is on the cards, make sure your preparation is spot on.
“If your tenant is behind in rent, don’t say it is only a couple of days here or there – take action and let them know it is not acceptable behaviour,” Ms Indge said.
“Equally, if the tenant is not looking after the property, make sure that you make it clear that behaviour is also not acceptable and if you need to, take them to the tribunal to set that up … if you do need to evict the tenant the preparation at tribunal will be really important.
“Keeping good tenants is a really important part of being an investor and I think that it is a two-way street, you should never keep the rent below market or not increase the rent simply because you like the tenant or they have been a good tenant.”
Ms Indge stressed it is also important to set the ground rules and communicate with your tenant clearly about what the future prospects are. Open conversations are the best way to move forward.
“If the lease is expiring in two months’ time, ask the tenant at that stage whether they would like to sign a new lease so you are preparing for the next period. It gives them surety and you too and I think that gives you an open conversation with a tenant about whether or not they will stay or move on.”
Melissa Gibson from LJ Hooker Cessnock said the best way to deal with tenants, whether they are problematic or not, is to treat them like potential investors or property buyers. Ms Gibson said the best way to approach renters is to build a relationship and retain a customer for life – threatening them with an appearance before a tribunal often doesn’t work long term.
“Should a tenant be in arrears with rent we will send atext message with a reply function because often they find the whole situation very embarrassing and offer payment plans – it all comes down to communication,” Ms Gibson said.
“The trick is not to go in heavy-handed with tenants because if you are heavy handed that can really put their back up as there could be a problem in their personal life, divorce, sickness etc.