Difficult tenant - managing property

How to deal with difficult tenants

With tenancy rules increasingly favouring tenants, it’s now more important than ever that landlords arm themselves with all the available tools ands skills to maintain good tenant relations.

1 – Run your rental portfolio like a business.

When you have good relations with your tenants then it can be easy to forget that a rental portfolio is a business, and like any business, all team members are subject to a set of rules. It’s wise to make those rules very clear to everyone, that incudes both tenants and landlords. In most cases if everyone is aware of the rules, then problems can be avoided.

Keep in mind always that the tenant-landlord relationship is a business relationship.

2 – Have a watertight tenancy agreement.

If things go bad, your tenancy agreement is the only solid guiding document that you can fall back on. The tenancy.govt.nz website has a good agreement builder available. That will cover the basics. Be sure to include other areas that may lead to a dispute in your agreement, i.e. pets, who looks after the garden etc. The more you can tie down in the agreement, the better, so make sure that the agreement is as “watertight” as it can be.

3 – Put everything in writing.

And we mean “everything”. If any issues that relate to the tenancy are discussed then follow that up with an email. Keep those emails 100% professional and don’t get tempted to become personal. Relate this back to my first point; the tenant is a paying client.

4 – Refer back to the contract.

If there is a dispute or a query, then refer to the tenancy agreement. The agreement is an all-important document, and any dispute resolution will likely refer back to that agreement should it ever come to a tribunal hearing.

5 – Stick to the rules.

You don’t want your tenant to break any rules. The same goes for landlords. Any time you break the rules you’re putting yourself at risk. There have been many rule changes lately (Link to previous blogs). Familiarise yourself with all the latest “Healthy Homes” requirements and make sure that all requirements are implemented well in time. The same goes for any other expectations. Here are some of your rights and responsibilities: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/starting-a-tenancy/new-to-tenancy/key-rights-and-responsibilities/

6 – Communicate clearly.

Often the reason for a dispute is a misunderstanding. Be sure to communicate clearly and leave no doubt about expectations. Follow up if required and remember point 3: put it in writing.

7 – Keep up with market rent.

This is a business and there is an expectation from all parties that market rents are applied. Where you set the rent is ultimately your decision, but make sure that you (and the tenant) get a fair deal. The best way to judge that is to be familiar with market rents in the area.

8 – Do regular inspections

Every property inspection is an opportunity to set things right, from the tenant, the landlord and the property. Regular inspections are an opportunity to communicate and to prevent things getting out of hand in the first place. We come across tenants that are reluctant to contact us if there are matters to be resolved and instead become disillusioned. It’s a best not to let it come to that. Scheduled maintenance prevents that from happening.

Best yet is to use a good property management company. With the new rules in place, tenant selection is critical and that’s where we place our focus. But from time to time we must deal with tenants that are not easy to deal with.

We take care of all those things that can make being a landlord difficult and leave you to enjoy the benefits of your property portfolio.

Metro NZ Properties is a Property Management Company in Auckland. We manage rental properties throughout Auckland, New Zealand and the world.

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