Ever experienced problems with disruptive tenants?  They can be a pain to a landlord, particularly when trying to sell a house.


Disruptive tenants come in many forms–noise, improper care of the property, junk in the yard, threats to neighbors, suspicious activity, improper parking—the list goes on and on. It’s can be a dicey situation for the landlord given the tenant protection laws in effect.  For the landlord who is looking to sell a house, it presents an even more complex set of issues, including property value and attractiveness to potential buyers. Here we discuss ways to prevent and manage disruptive tenants.


Prevention. The best way to manage a disruptive tenant is to avoid taking one on in the first place.  Thorough vetting of a potential tenant will save any landlord a lot of grief.  Surprisingly, however, many landlords do not pursue a complete tenant screening process.  Here are some things you should do:


  • Use a detailed application form and insist that it is complete before accepting it.
  • Get the applicants Social Security Number so that you can run a background check.
  • Use a background check to screen for any history of violent crimes, sex offenses, drug dealing, and any and all litigations.
  • Review the applicant’s credit report for payment status, outstanding bills, utility record payment, liens, etc.
  • Get contact information for previous landlords and follow up to determine their experience with the tenant.
  • Put detailed terms in the lease agreement concerning disruptive behaviors, tenant responsibilities and consequences of any disruptive behavior.


Intervention.  Landlords have a number of intervention options. Try these:


  • Discuss any disruptions with the tenant and reiterate your expectations and lease conditions
  • Send a formal “quit” notification
  • Talk to the neighbors. Gather information from the neighbors concerning their observations to acquire any additional evidence of disruption and inform the neighbors that you are taking actions. The last thing you want when trying to sell a house is an angry neighbor that might make a potential buyer wary of the property.
  • Serve the tenant with an eviction notice. It may be tempting to receive additional monthly rent payments, but a disruptive tenant could prove to be a disaster to a home sale. If you want to sell the house fast, get rid of the tenant.


Sales Alternatives. Disruptive tenants often leave the property in poor condition and spread ill will throughout the neighborhood. Both can affect the value of your property and the probability that it will sell within a reasonable time. Here are alternatives to consider:


  • Renovate the property to get it ready to market.  This can require some expense and will delay the time before it is ready to sell.
  • Sell it fast without the hassles and expense of renovation, listings, agent commissions and real estate fees by marketing it “as is”. Investors with solid financial backing will gladly purchase an “as-is” property and enable you to sell it quickly for good, hard cash.


Prevention and intervention can minimize the problems associated with a disruptive tenant. If you are thinking about selling the property, explore opportunities to minimize your expenses and headaches.


How do you deal with disruptive tenants?


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