Landlords urged to take notice of tenant behaviour

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A leading rental insurance provider has encouraged landlords to take notice of the behavioural trends that emerge in tenants in order to prevent some of the more common headaches that can appear with rental properties.

While it may be hard to identify if a tenant will cause problems at the beginning of a lease, Carolyn Parrella, executive manager of Terri Scheer Insurance, said there are a handful of behavioural trends that often point to trouble in the future.

“Tenants can make or break an investment experience for landlords,” Parella said.

“While bad tenants are the minority, they can be an unavoidable risk for property investors. We find that tenants can often demonstrate five different behavioural types,” she said.

According to Parella, landlords should particularly be aware of tenants who fall into a pattern of late rental payments.

“A late paying tenant can cause enormous stress on landlords, both financially and emotionally, particularly if landlords are relying on the rental income stream,” she said.

“While even the best tenants can suffer financial hardship, failure to pay rent is one of the most common reasons tenants are evicted.”

Along with tenants who fall behind on rental payments, those that purposefully break the rules outlined in their lease agreement also pose a difficult situation for landlords.

“Despite signing a lease agreement, some tenants will rebel against the policies outlined in the contract, including violating the pet policy, failing to adhere to noise requirements, smoking in the property or carelessly using property fixtures,” Parella said.

“In some cases, this type of careless living is particularly difficult for landlords to manage as it may not be covered by standard insurance policies.”

Similarly, untidy tenants can also be a source of frustration.

“While landlords are expected to keep up with general property maintenance, tenants are expected to keep the property clean, clear of waste and avoid deliberate or negligent damage,” Parrella said.

“Messy tenants can be careless with their cleaning, letting mould appear in bathrooms or stacking up dirty dishes in the kitchen which can attract insects and rodents.”

To avoid those issues, Parella recommends landlords schedule regular inspections, but even that is not always a solution as some tenants will avoid communicating with their landlords.

“Communication can make or break a tenancy. Too much communication can be a turn off for landlords and tenants alike while zero communication is just as bad. The latter can be a warning sign for landlords.”

“Avoiding face-to-fact contact and cancelling property inspections may suggest the tenant is trying to cover up non-compliant or possibly even illegal activity.”

While there may be traits among tenants that can be a good indication of trouble, they are not applicable to all people who live in a rental property.

“The ideal tenant is respectful and treats your property as if it were their own. This tenant pays their rent promptly, ensures the property is always well-presented and immediately reports any maintenance issues to the landlord or their property manager,” Parella said.

“While property inspections can be inconvenient, good tenants understand why they are needed and accommodate landlord visits accordingly.”

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