They’re the life of the party, they’re in a band, they’re really pumped about arguments, or they’re just flat out inconsiderate of their neighbors and your property — enter, the so-called disruptive tenants.
A good tenant on paper, one who is well-qualified to rent your property and never fails to pay rent on time, is not always the “best” tenant to have. Whether they're throwing weekly parties that last till dawn, having angry verbal or physical disputes with their roommates or partners, practicing their musical instruments for hours every weekend, or own an incessantly barking dog, some tenants can make life miserable for your other tenants, which in turn can make your life as a landlord or property manager equally as miserable, if not more.
Tenants who tend to make too much commotion such as noise in the wee hours or cause other forms of disruption to your rental community can cost you a whole lot. From negative online reviews to property damages and even physical altercations, disruptive tenants can spell disaster for property managers and landlords.
Managing Disruptive Tenants
1. Create rules against disruptions in your rental lease agreement
If you’re in a big property management group in Texas, chances are you already have rules and regulations incorporated in your lease agreement written in accordance with the law on how to deal with disruptive tenants.
In the off-chance that you do not, or if you’re a private landlord or managing smaller properties and you do not have clauses in your rental lease agreement regarding disruptive tenants, what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to rethink the language in your lease agreement and protect your property from the unfortunate consequences of renting to disruptive tenants.
Typically, a well-written rental lease agreement includes clauses that entail renters’ right to "quiet enjoyment.” Additionally, there should also be sections in the contract in relation to other disruptive behavior, such as illegal activity or health concerns, to ensure tenants don't become a nuisance to you or to other renters or neighbors nearby.
Doing so will help you not only protect your interest should an eviction ensue, but you can also make prospective tenants realize beforehand that there is basic renter’s etiquette requirement for living in your property.
2. Delegate a courtesy officer or call the authorities
If your property has an in-house courtesy officer, it should be his/her responsibility to check on disruptive behavior and issue warnings in your property. If you have no courtesy officer at your disposal and the disruption is pretty severe or escalating, call a law enforcement officer and ask for help to diffuse the situation.
Generally, if you are able to gather evidence proving that a tenant is being too loud or disruptive — such as another renter who can confirm the commotion or a written account of when and how often a tenant has been disruptive, then you should be able to get the authorities to knock on your tenant’s door and do something about the situation.
3. Issue a “Cure or Quit” warning
If the disruptive behavior was a once in a blue moon incident, say a birthday party for a usually quiet tenant, there should be no cause for further action. However, if you find that disruptive behavior is repetitive, you can issue a “cure or quit” type of warning of your problem tenant.
These warnings are typically delivered to tenants who have been problematic in the past and have been warned about their behavior. The warning should clearly state your demand as a landlord or property manager for the renter to shape up during the course of a set amount of time and stop committing disruptive actions. Should your tenant fail to do so in that time span, you may have legal recourse to pursue eviction.
4. Evict disruptive tenants
In the end, it’s simply not worth it to keep a disruptive tenant on your property even if he/she pays rent on time. If your tenant cannot courteously reside in your property in spite of you giving fair warnings, the next-best course of action is to evict the renter in question.
For “breach of lease” evictions in Texas, it is best to have as much documented proof that violations have, or continue to occur. The more proof you have, the more likely it is that you can win your eviction suit against your tenant. For each instance of a breach, it is best to issue a citation to your tenant, clearly explaining how they violated the lease, and get them to sign it. Additionally, photos do wonders when trying to prove if a violation did, or did not happen. At the end of the day, it will be up to the judge to decide if there are enough grounds to evict, but your preparation will tilt the scale in your favor.
While evicting a tenant in Texas can seem daunting, letting a problem tenant stay longer in your property can cause you headaches, lost income, and even a sullied reputation down the road. If a tenant is incapable of changing their disruptive behavior, it is in your best interest to ultimately replace that tenant.
If you’re managing a property in Texas and are simply too busy managing your property to go to court or file the necessary papers, a qualified eviction service can help you.
From creating and delivering eviction notices to handling all the nuances of evictions, and even through eviction appeals, we have the experience, knowledge, and experts to get your problem tenant out as quickly as the law allows.