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.
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
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.