How to deal with bad tenants

Posted by Auckland Property Management on February 16, 2016 | Property Management, Video Blog

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Auckland Property Management’s General Manager Celia Burbery discusses some best practices around how to deal with bad tenants.

Initial good tenant selection is paramount in preventing issues later on in the tenancy. Private Landlords are sometimes targeted by bad tenants as they do not have the same screening resources as we do when it comes to qualifying tenants.

From time to time previously good tenants can have a change in circumstance which leads them to change their financial priorities. This can lead to a very uncomfortable situation, particularly for private Landlords who may not know their rights and how to deal with bad tenants.

Private Landlords can be surprised at the degree of difficulty they are faced with when a previously good tenant can suddenly change into a bad tenant.

However, in life, circumstances can change for example bereavement, a change at work or their employment, the situation may be out of their control and their priorities change.

What qualifies as a bad tenant? Generally they fall under three categories:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Abuse of the dwelling/property
  • Disturbing the peace and quiet enjoyment of neighbouring properties.

How to deal with bad tenants?

We need to turn to the legislation that governs all Landlords and Tenants. This will define for you your rights and the processes required to implement those rights when giving notice to your tenant.

Ensure your have done your preliminary work – a 14 day breach notice or a remedy of breach has already been served to your tenant and your are now wanting your tenant to receive a final notice.

  • One of the most common notices is the 90 day notice for a landlord to end a tenancy – regardless of the reason. Be advised it is better not to provide a reason for the tenants to attempt to challenge.
  • Used more widely is the 42 day notice to vacate a property. This notice can be used if the owner or a family member is going to move into the property. Remember Trusts and Companies cannot use this notice period as they do not have family members. 42 day notice can also be used if you wish to house employees or if the property has been sold and vacant procession is required on a periodic tenancy. This does not apply to a fixed term tenancy as a sale of a property does not alter the terms of a fixed term tenancy.

Two points to remember during this notice period

  • At any time during the 90 or 42 notice the tenant can provide a 21 day counter notice to end a tenancy.
  • You will be required to gain written consent from the other party if you change your mind before that notice can be withdrawn as this is a legal and binding contract.

It is also important to remember this you must allow time for your method of service. For example:

  • Personal service (hand it to the tenant) = start counting 1 working day after delivery
  • Affix to door or place in the letterbox = start counting 2 working days after delivery
  • Standard mail = start counting 4 working days after posting
  • Fax or email if sent before 5p.m. = start counting 1 working day after delivery

Most tenants upon receiving a notice to vacate will start looking immediately for another property but should you find yourself with tenants who refuse to move that will require an application to the tenancy tribunal for possession of your property. This may lead to the use of a bailiff and a complete changing of locks, but that is an eviction process and a topic for another time.

Auckland Property Management has years of professional experience dealing with good and bad tenants. With our expertise, we have helped many clients over the years on how to deal with bad tenants and are happy to help you should you find yourself with a bad tenant.

For any related questions that you might have, feel free to contact Auckland Property Management Ltd in Auckland who has over 30 years’ experience managing properties all the way from Bombay to Orewa.