Best Practices for Dealing with Difficult Tenants

Dealing with difficult tenants can be one of the most challenging parts of being a landlord. These intimidating tenants can be demanding, uncooperative, and otherwise unpleasant to handle.

Fortunately, a good landlord knows how to handle difficult tenants in a professional and firm manner. Here are some best practices you can follow when dealing with difficult tenants.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Open and honest communication with your tenants is the key to successful tenant-landlord relationships. Keeping the lines of communication open will not only help you understand your tenants’ wishes, but it will also give them a chance to convey their concerns in a polite and respectful manner.

Be sure to set up weekly or biweekly meetings with your tenants, during which you can discuss potential problems, proposed solutions, and any other issues. This will give your tenants an opportunity to express their frustrations openly and build trust between the two of you.

Stay Professional

The most important rule when dealing with difficult tenants is to always stay professional. Regardless of how frustrating or intimidating a tenant might be, it is always important to remain respectful and courteous. Keep your conversations polite and avoid getting into arguments.

No matter how frustrated you are with your tenants, it is important to remain professional and provide them with honest, fair, and respectful service.

Be Responsive

If your tenants are unhappy with something, it is important to remain responsive to their concerns. Acknowledge their grievances and be quick to respond to inquiries and complaints.

When dealing with difficult tenants, it is important to act quickly and decisively, and not wait too long before taking action. Address the issue as soon as possible, and let the tenant know that their concerns are being taken seriously.

Set Clear Expectations

It is important to set clear expectations with your tenants from the beginning. Establish the rules and regulations of the property, and be sure to outline any late fees or other penalties for not following the rules.

Make sure that your tenants are well aware of the expectations, and be sure to follow up if they fail to comply. While it can be difficult to enforce the terms of your agreement, it is important to do so if you want to maintain good tenant relationships.

Be Fair and Consistent

Dealing with difficult tenants can be challenging, but it is important to remain fair and consistent in your approach. No matter how difficult a tenant might be, it is important to treat them in the same manner as you would treat any other tenant.

Furthermore, it is important to maintain consistency when it comes to enforcing the rules. All tenants should be treated equally, no matter how difficult they might be.

Stay Calm and Stay Positive

Finally, it is important to stay calm and stay positive when dealing with difficult tenants. No matter how challenging the situation might be, always remain patient and focused on finding a resolution. Too much hostility and anger can only lead to further conflict, which will not help the situation.

Rather than getting frustrated and losing your temper, stay positive and focus on finding a solution that is acceptable to both parties.


Dealing with difficult tenants can be a daunting task, but it is important to handle the situation in a firm yet professional manner. By following the best practices outlined here, you can maintain positive relationships with your tenants and keep “difficult tenants” in check.

Best Practices for Dealing with Difficult Tenants:

  • Keep the lines of communication open

  • Stay professional

  • Be responsive

  • Set clear expectations

  • Be fair and consistent

  • Stay calm and stay positive

What rights do landlords have when dealing with difficult tenants?

1. Terminate the Lease: If the tenant is violating the terms of the lease agreement, the landlord may be able to legally terminate the tenancy. The landlord must follow all local and state laws, including notice requirements and court proceedings if applicable.

2. Reasonable Entry: In most cases, the landlord has the right to inspection and reasonable access to the rental unit. Again, this must typically comply with local laws, and the landlord must provide proper notice before entry.

3. Utilize the Security Deposit: Depending on the lease agreement, if the tenant breaches the lease, the landlord might be able to use the security deposit to make up for any damages caused.

4. File a Lawsuit: In instances where tenants refuse to leave the rental property or otherwise commit a lease violation, the landlord might be able to file a lawsuit to remove the tenant and/or recover damages.

What legal action can landlords take against difficult tenants?

Landlords can take a variety of legal actions against difficult tenants, depending on the severity of their behaviour. These can include, but may not be limited to:

-Issuing an eviction notice

-Filing an Unlawful Detainer action in court

-Filing a civil lawsuit to collect rent or damages

-Filing a criminal complaint against the tenant

-Suing for breach of the rental agreement

-Reporting the tenant to a credit bureau

-Pursuing a small claims court case

-Working with a lawyer to draft a cease and desist letter
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