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Residential Real Estate
Nov 14, 2022

5 Types of Difficult Tenants Landlords May Encounter – And How to Deal With Them

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Sweyer - Owner and Broker, Sweyer Property Management

As a landlord, you will likely encounter difficult tenants at some point. And, as you might imagine, difficult tenants can be a huge hassle and cause a lot of stress. They can also cost you money if they damage the property or don't pay rent on time. In this blog post, we will discuss five different types of difficult tenants and how to deal with them. 

The Disappearing Act

One of the most trying things about being a landlord is dealing with tenants who don't pay their rent on time. Not only does it cause financial problems for the landlord, but it can also be a major inconvenience. After all, nobody likes having to chase down late payments. One way to help curb this problem is by charging late fees. This way, tenants may be less inclined to make a habit of paying rent late. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If your responsible, long-term tenant normally pays on time but starts paying late, they may be experiencing some difficulty in their life that is causing it. In these cases, it's important to be understanding and work with the tenant to find a solution. After all, we all have hardships from time to time.

The Scofflaw

Tenants who refuse to obey the terms of their lease are a real pain for landlords. These tenants don't care if they're not allowed to have other people living in the home. They will let their friends crash on their couches for months on end. They'll smoke inside. They'll start selling stolen car parts out of the garage. These kinds of tenants have no respect for the rules, their landlord, or the property. Tenants like these are why it's so important to have an ironclad lease that clearly states who can live there and what activities are allowed on the property. These tenants are also the poster children for property inspections – one visit, and you'll be able to easily see that someone has turned the living room pullout into a bedroom. However, if you let the property go for years without an inspection, you may find that you've ended up with a nightmarish tenant.

The HGTV Couple

As a landlord, you may be surprised to find that your tenants have taken it upon themselves to make changes to your rental property without approval. While they may think they're making upgrades to the home, you may not be so pleased with their handiwork. If your tenants have done work to the house themselves, it's possible that it's not up to your standards or just plain ugly (has this room always been lime green?). To avoid any misunderstandings, it's important to make sure that your lease is very clear about making any changes to the property. If your tenants decide they'd like to paint a room or make other small changes, let them know they can put in a request and that you're willing to discuss it.

The Dog Whisperer

Tenants love their pets just like you do. However, tenants who love their pets a little too much can sometimes be a nightmare. These tenants allow their pets to scratch up the walls and floors, chew on anything, jump on countertops, and "go" inside; you name it, they let Fluffy do it. They may think they're just slightly indulgent pet owners, but they're damaging your investment. It's hard to get a pet smell out of a house, and numerous pets can create even more problems (face it – this kind of tenant is NOT going to pass up that puppy they found on the side of the road). That's why it's important to have a clear pet policy in place, screen pets carefully, and be sure to check for signs of extra pets during property inspections. Otherwise, you may end up with more trouble than you bargained for.

The Home Hypochondriac

If you're a landlord, chances are you've had a tenant or two who likes to complain about everything. From the fridge making a funny noise to the thermostat being off by a few degrees, these tenants will find anything and everything to call you about. And it's always an emergency – yes, even the door that sticks is an emergency. And while it's your job to provide them with a safe and habitable place to live, you don't need to jump every time they call. A little friendly reminder of what is and isn't your responsibility and what constitutes an emergency can go a long way in calming these tenants. After all, they're paying you to live there, not to be their personal handyman.


While difficult tenants are something every landlord will have to deal with at some point, there are ways to minimize their impact on your business. Screening tenants thoroughly and having a strong lease in place are both key components of protecting yourself should a tenant become problematic. However, working with a professional property manager is the best way to protect yourself from troublesome tenants. A property manager will serve as a buffer between you and the tenant, ensuring that you don't have to deal with any problems directly.

As a leading property management firm in the Cape Fear region, Sweyer Property Management recommends that property owners strongly consider working with a trusted and experienced property management company. Whether it pertains to the eviction process or another area of handling your investment properties, we want to make sure property owners and investors understand the relationship they are entering into when choosing to work with a property management firm. 

If you have investment properties and do not use a professional management company, we hope you consider doing so. The experts at Sweyer Property Management will be happy to provide you with a free rental analysis or, if you prefer, give us a call at 910-239-1338. 
Sweyer Property Management is a full-service professional property management company specializing in all aspects of rental management. If you're an investor or property owner looking to learn more about our services and what a professional property manager can do, reach out to us today at 910.256.3031 or via our website. Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland, and Hampstead areas while maintaining an excellent Google+ rating for customer service. 

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