Sometimes as a Landlord you’ll come across Tenants that aren’t a good fit for your property leading a landlord to wonder How to Let Go of Bad Tenants. Whether they’re consistently late with rent, a source of frequent complaints, or violating terms of the Lease, difficult Tenants lead to increased stress for Landlords and, often, lost income.
That said, the eviction process is time-consuming and expensive, and most Landlords want to avoid it whenever possible. The good news is that you don’t have to choose between either living with terrible Tenants or going forward with eviction proceedings. Instead, there are things that experienced Landlords try first to get Tenants to voluntarily leave.
Of course, if a Lease renewal is coming up, a simple way to get rid of a Tenant is to simply give them proper notice that their Lease will not be renewed. When that’s not the case, good communication and proper documentation can help make it easier to let go of bad Tenants.
Here’s a guide for effectively getting unwanted Tenants to voluntarily leave your property.
Ask Them to Leave to Avoid the Eviction Process
The first step towards getting rid of unruly Tenants is asking them to leave. This might sound overly simplistic, but when done right it’s very effective. This should be done with both an in-person conversation and through written documentation (discussed in the next section).
When talking with Tenants, it’s important to clearly state your reasons for needing them to leave. When doing so, be as direct and specific as possible. Do not allow room for flexibility, instead tell them that they can no longer stay in the property. Then, end the conversation by asking them to move out by a certain date.
Here’s a checklist to keep in mind when having this conversation with Tenants:
- Clearly and succinctly state your reason for asking Tenants to move out
- Be direct and leave no room for negotiation
- Give Tenants a date by which they must be out
- Be compassionate and express an understanding that moving is inconvenient
- Be kind and calm, avoiding the temptation to be angry or combative, regardless of how Tenants react
- Offer to help Tenants with the move, either by helping them find a new rental or offering some sort of support with the move; the more understanding and helpful you are, the more likely it is that Tenants will listen to and respond to your request that they move out
Issue a Written Notice to Vacate
While having a personal conversation with Tenants can help this process go more smoothly, Landlords should follow up with a Written Notice to Vacate. This Notice serves as a formal request for Tenants to vacate the premises due to Lease violations.
It’s important to note that this Notice is different from an Eviction Notice, yet it does warn that if Tenants don’t comply with the request, the Landlord will initiate eviction proceedings.
That said, sending this Notice is not just a procedural step. In fact, somewhere around 80% of Tenants leave voluntarily after getting a Notice to Vacate. And, combining this with a direct and honest conversation can lead to an even higher success rate.
Consider Offering Cash for Keys
In the rare circumstances when these steps don’t work, a “cash for keys” strategy is a last resort that Landlords can consider to get rid of unpleasant Tenants. The basic idea here is that Landlords:
- Tell Tenants what the problems are and the reasons why they must leave
- Provide Tenants a way out by offering some amount of cash (often half a month’s rent and the security deposit or an entire month’s rent) in return for vacating the property
- Draft a Cash for Keys Agreement, documenting the deal
For frustrated Landlords, the thought of giving negligent Tenants cash might not be particularly appealing. But, the reality is that this is easier and less expensive than evicting Tenants. However counterintuitive it might feel, if some cash will get unwanted Tenants to voluntarily leave, it’s well worth it for Landlords.
Get the Resources You Need on How to Let Go of Bad Tenants
Bad Tenants take up Landlords’ time and money, so it’s important to have the tools to let go of them when needed. In the majority of cases, the right actions by Landlords will get unwanted Tenants to voluntarily leave.