How to Get Rid of a Problem Tenant the Easy Way

A couple years back I encountered a problem tenant that had to go. This tenant had begun fighting with the neighboring tenant, and neighbors across the street complained about her loud, obnoxious behavior and her unruly kids terrorizing the neighborhood. Things reached a boiling point when the police were called. I knew I had to get rid of her but was dreading the confrontation, expense, and the inevitable time it would consume in my already busy life. 

Then I remembered a conversation I had with a former rental property client of mine who told me that he offers to pay tenants $500 if they will leave. He found this strategy far less costly than hiring an attorney, and it kept the tenant from trashing the place on the way out. 

I liked the idea, but had a hard time justifying rewarding a tenant’s bad behavior by paying them off. So, I modified my approach a little.  I contacted the tenant and explained that I’ve had too many issues and that it would be best for them and everyone else if they moved out.  I then explained that I could process an eviction but that it would reflect poorly on their record and make it harder for them to find a new place.  I also let them know I was willing to give them until the end of the next month to find a new place, which would give them a solid timeline for moving, unlike an eviction. I also let them know I would give a good reference to their future landlord as long as they got along with the neighbors until they left. They would also receive their full deposit as long as they left the property in good condition.

I had them sign a mutual lease rescission stating the lease would now terminate at the end of the next month instead of their original termination date the following year. While the tenant was not happy about having to leave, a lease rescission was better than an eviction, so they agreed.

I explained to the neighbors that the problem tenants would be leaving at the end of the next month, and that seemed to satisfy them and settle everyone down.  I was a bit nervous that the tenants wouldn’t be out as agreed, forcing me to start an eviction process – which was a gamble I took. But, they found a place and moved out on time, and while the place wasn’t exactly left clean, there was no real damage, so I refunded the full deposit as I said I would.

This process saved me time, money, and grief.  No attorneys and no court dates were required, and it gave me time to market the property to find a new tenant quickly. This mutually beneficial approach may not work in every situation, but it’s a good place to start.  If you use a property management company for your single family or multi-family rental properties, coach them through this approach as well to save money and hassle versus having them do a straight eviction. 

Brad Uhlig is a Broker/Owner with West Peak Properties, a full-service brokerage company specializing in single-family and multi-family investment properties in the Denver Metro area. The brokers at West Peak Properties have over 40 years of combined experience with 100’s of transactions closed. Their mission is to help investors build their portfolio, exchange and sell when the time is right, and live a better life through the financial freedom real estate investing allows.  Contact Them Today!