Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

How can you protect yourself against aggressive tenants?

You love being able to lease out your duplex, but you also know that whoever you bring in needs to be a safe, respectful tenant. How can you make sure you protect yourself as a landlord and only work with people who are respectful of your property?

Here are a few tips for keeping yourself safe. First, unless you live on the property, there's no reason to give away your home address. Simply give your tenant a phone number or email address where he or she can reach you in an emergency or when he or she needs to talk to you. If you would like to be paid via check, it's a good idea to opt for a P.O. box, so no disgruntled tenants know where you live.

Screening your tenant is one of the most important things you can do. Always run a credit and background check. This helps you guarantee that there's nothing in the person's history that shows aggression or hostility, late payments, evictions or other issues. If you ask for references, use them.

If you find that a tenant you have rented a property to is being destructive or threatening, you can go to police. That behavior is unacceptable no matter what your relationship is. Don't threaten the tenant back; call the police and begin a record about the harassment. If it continues, you'll have a paper trail to help you if you have to go to court. If your tenant threatens to sue, don't wait to address the issue. Ask for the attorney's phone number and give it to your lawyer; you usually can prevent further hostility by tackling the problem head on.

Source: Rentec Direct, "How to Protect Yourself From Dangerous Tenants," Kaycee Wegener, accessed Feb. 24, 2017

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