Out of all your responsibilities as a landlord in Washington DC, dealing with bad tenants is arguably one of the most challenging ones. No landlord wants to have to navigate a relationship with bad tenants, whether they aren’t paying the rent, are endangering the community, or are always complaining.
But what can you do about such tenants? While it can feel impossible to stay positive, you do have certain obligations when it comes to the people renting your property, and there are some things you can do to protect yourself. Here are our top recommendations for how Washington DC landlords can deal with bad tenants!
Keep Accurate Documentation
It’s essential to keep accurate documentation of your dealings with the residents while they’re living in your property. For example:
- If the tenant constantly complains about a repair that needs to be done, document the date, time, and actions you performed to handle the issue.
- If the tenant complains about another tenant, document what actions you took on what day and time to resolve the problem.
- If the tenant is neglecting to pay their rent on time, document any notices given to them, whether through email, text, phone call, or letter.
In the event that the renters dispute any of your actions, you’ll have the necessary evidence to back up your claims. While your tenants may never sue, you won’t regret having a paper trail!
Always Abide by Washington DC Law
As a landlord in Washington DC, certain things are illegal for you to do when it comes to handling challenging tenants.
For instance, it’s illegal for you to remove their belongings from the property, change the locks, or harass your renters in any way, including turning off the utilities. You cannot evict a tenant on your own; you must have a valid reason for doing so and then proceed to file a lawsuit.
In Washington DC, you have grounds to evict a tenant if:
- They haven’t paid rent.
- They’ve violated the lease and not corrected the violation within the specified time period after being notified (generally 30 days is given or required to correct or cease the behavior).
- The tenant is using the property to store, sell, distribute, or manufacturer drugs.
- You need the property back for either personal use or renovations.
Even if the tenant’s lease is up, you can’t simply kick the tenant out. The lease will automatically go to a monthly contract, even if you and your renter did not initially agree on this. No matter how much you feel the residents have neglected to uphold their end of the lease, you have to do things the proper way.
Model How You Want to Be Treated
No matter how badly your renters may treat you, it’s important to stay calm and model how you want to be treated. Do your best to always be respectful and polite to your renters no matter what they may say or do. If you ever feel threatened, call the police.
As difficult as it may be, remember that their treatment of you is not personal and that any negative behavior on your part could come back to harm you. Always conduct yourself professionally and abide by the law—you won’t regret taking the proper steps to get the issue dealt with once and for all.
Having Issues With Tenants? Work With an Experienced Property Manager
It’s not easy dealing with bad tenants, but with the right property manager, you’ll no longer have to handle renters that bring headaches and midnight phone calls. Call us at FAS Management today to find out more about how we can help you manage your rental property in DC at (202) 337-5080!