Every property manager has high hopes that all of their clients will be friendly, cooperative, and will take care of the home. Unfortunately, every once in a while you will come across an unruly tenant. So what do you do when you want a client to leave, but do not want to deal with the timely and costly consequences of sending an eviction notice? In this article, we give property managers some solutions for getting rid of a bad tenant.
Before trying to get rid of the tenant, make sure your motives are in the right place. Property managers should always have a just cause for wanting a tenant to leave. Examples of this may include a tenant that damages the property often, or has a habit of paying rent late every month. Once you have the notion established, you can then use this to decide the best course of action for getting the tenant to leave.
You should also keep in mind that there are illegal ways to rid a tenant – and these can cause serious legal inflictions. To avoid this, never try to “self-help” evict a tenant by changing locks, refusing property necessities (AC, heat, water, electricity), damaging the property, or threatening the tenant into leaving. All of the methods discussed below are legal, but property managers should use their best judgement to determine if they are the most ethical and effective in given circumstances.
The first method is to simply have a conversation with the tenant. This method works best for tenants who have habits of paying rent late, or cause minor disturbances. Listen to their explanations and try to understand situations- if you are open to working with the tenant, they may be willing to work with you. Landlords can legally end the contract early if both parties agree on the early termination. Or in some cases, ending a lease may not even be necessary if a compromise is established where the tenant agrees to resolve discussed issues.
If a conversation does not end in an agreement, or the tenant does not uphold their word for change, more aggressive methods may need to be enacted. The first of these is raising the rent once the initial lease is up for renewal. It is important to note that in raising rent, you must always check state laws that govern how much you can raise rent at one given time. In South Carolina, there is no limit to how much you can raise rent at a time, nor is there a maximum amount of times you can raise rent. However, property managers must give tenants a thirty-day notice before rent will be raised. This method is best for short term rentals, or in cases when a tenant’s leave is not time pressing.
If the first two methods do not work, don’t file for eviction just yet. The legal fees and amount of time your property is vacant during the eviction can cost you a large sum of money. Instead, an aggressive, but legal, solution is available that will get the tenant out and save you money. The “Cash for Keys” method gives the tenant a sum of cash in exchange for them leaving the property peacefully, and earlier than the lease. In determining the price to offer the tenant, consider offering a return on the unused time in the month of rent. Offering a tenant $500 is more cost effective than upwards of $7,000 for eviction. If you decide to enact this method, make sure to set specific conditions for the agreement to ensure your property is in perfect condition upon the tenants’ leave.
The most important thing to remember when attempting to get a tenant to leave, is to treat them with respect and kindness. Eviction almost always causes angry tenants, which can result in property damages. But by taking a negotiative approach and offering compromises, property managers are more likely to achieve peaceful riddance of a pesky tenant.