When landlording becomes dangerous!

Sep 26 2012

Being a landlord has never been easy. With the down turned economy, it makes matter much, much worse. Suddenly many landlords have become bill collectors, babysitters, and amateur skip tracers. There's another aspect that has to be growing in this economy and that is dangers to landlords from disgruntled tenants as well as problem tenants who are violent.

In 2011, a tenant in Indianapolis, problem tenant, angry with his landlord, burned the home he was residing in, killing his elderly mother. The criminal and bad tenant was indicted, tried, and found guilty on a number of counts. The bad tenant was angry because the landlord was threatening eviction and wanted to "get even" with him. His plan could have had serious consequences for the landlord had he been present at the time of the crime, possibly being attacked.

A landlord was murdered for serving eviction papers on her deadbeat tenants. A convicted murderer shouted as he left court after being sentenced Tuesday

In today's society where taking responsibility for one's actions seems to be diminishing, many problem tenants easily transfer their failings to the landlords. Many people will enter a legally binding contract with no qualms about fulfilling it. Many others will enter the contract but have circumstances force them to stop paying rent with the assumption that due to those circumstances it is somehow"okay", throwing them into the "problem tenant" category.

When demands are put upon either type of renter to fulfill the contract, fear and anger can easily set in. These are the type of problem tenants where conflict can be high when the fear and anger are turned to the landlord in the way of verbal or physical attacks.

Several years ago in Indiana, a bad tenant shot his landlord to death. He knew he was behind and the landlord was going to arrive soon to demand payment. The problem tenant was caught, convicted, and sentenced but that's little comfort for a now-dead husband and father.

Being a landlord presents risks of bodily injury or death when dealing with disgruntled tenants.

In situations like these, it's best to mitigate the risks of bodily injury, attacked, or death. If you fear possible problems or conflict can erupt you can do all of the paperwork (demand letters, eviction notices, etc) via the mail. Many municipalities will also make deputies available for eviction of problem tenants.

Management companies are another way to avoid problem tenants. Many such companies already have resources and experience dealing with bad tenants. Some employ off-duty law enforcement to carry out demand letters or in-person communications. Others do as mentioned above and carry out all communications via the US Mail, keeping you out of the mix.

There are numerous ways to mitigate the risks of dealing with dangerous tenants.

One of the best tools to avoid such problem tenant conflicts is to heavily screen your tenants using such tools as our renter database. Weed out those with risky or suspicious rental experiences. If you're not comfortable having an ex- felon in your home, it is your duty to your personal safety not to rent to them. In the end, never assume even the nicest of tenants will stay that way if they fall behind on rent and are being held to the terms of the contract. Sometimes despite your best efforts, you simply don't really know who you're dealing with and can suddenly be facing a problem tenant.

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A landlord
  Wow! Good stuff
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