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Messy Tenants

Dealing with Messy Tenants

So you stopped by your rental house one day to check on your tenants and you find a mattress on the front porch, beer cans on the lawn and pizza boxes everywhere. What are you to do? Your first instinct may be to go in screaming at your tenants and tell them they will be evicted if it is not cleaned up right away. But before you react, know one thing. It may be partly your fault that happened! That’s right. You may have set the stage for this behavior by not implementing appropriate avoidance measures. Parties are going to happen, but how contained they are can be a direct reflection on how well you manage your property. Do you allow tenants to socialize on the front porch late at night? Will you charge the tenants if there is garbage not in containers? Have you not shown your face in several months? These are all reasons for tenants to believe that they can act any way they want and there will be no repercussions.

Going in and raising your voice to your tenants at this point will just put them on the defensive. Your comments of "This house is a mess, I want it cleaned now" may result in "we told you a month ago that our garbage cans are missing and you still have not replaced them". Just the look on your face alone should let them know that their behavior is unacceptable. Calmly discussing that they may be fined by you or the town if the mess is not cleaned up immediately can have the same effect. Show your tenants you care about your property by providing them with bags or extra cans. Perhaps you can get them to do some extra cleaning by giving them some floor cleaner and a mop.

It may be a good idea to follow up with your tenants a few days later. Let them know that a build up of garbage or recycling may lead to insects or other pests, and that it will be the tenant's responsibility to have the property treated. Check to see that garbage is properly stored and not accumulating in a pile and spend some time talking to your tenants about their respect for your property and the neighborhood. By getting your tenants in the habit of doing the right thing, you can easily avoid misbehavior. Also, when you find your tenants are following the rules, let them know that you are pleased and complement them. This should keep them motivated to continue that behavior.

The best way to encourage your tenants to keep your property clean is to show the tenants you care about the property. Keep the outside freshly painted, trim the bushes, and pick up any rubbish lying around. Let your tenants see you working on the property to keep it looking good and they will understand that you are serious about maintaining a neat house. Give your tenants reminders on garbage and recycling days. Don't expect your rental to be as neat as you keep your own house, but make sure it never reaches a level where infestation or damage can occur. If you are renting to students or unrelated tenants, they may have difficulty after a while "cleaning up after each other". Try to give them gentle hits that the house could use a cleaning and encourage tenants to develop a schedule for household chores such as cleaning, garbage, collecting rent, shopping etc…

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