Calm but Assertive: 6 Strategies for Handling a Difficult Tenant

As a landlord, you dread the day that you made a wrong call in judgment and whereas you thought you were going to have a happy and successful partnership with your new tenants turns out to be a meeting from hell.

While we all cross our fingers and hope it never happens to us, when you’re a landlord, the chances are you’re going to have at least one bad experience with a difficult tenant. This could be defined in any number of ways, but if you don’t know what to do, here are the six strategies for dealing with a nightmare tenant.

1. Be Calm

Some people in the world thrive off getting a reaction out of people, and the chances are your tenant is one of them, so make sure you don’t give them the satisfaction, nor stoop down to their level.

Make sure you’re remaining cool, calm and collected at all times, and ensure you don’t act in an incriminating way that could harm your defense if the case ever goes to court.

2. Be Strict but Fair

You need to remember your tenant is a human and needs to be treated as one. By this, we mean if they miss out on their rent for one month, you need to make sure you’re chasing it up immediately. If you don’t, then this becomes the norm, and they’ll think they can get away with it.

Of course, if you have a personal agreement one month where rent will be late, and you’re happy with it, that’s up to you, but it’s important to make sure you’re running a tight ship.

3. Kill Them with Kindness

In a lot of cases, nightmare tenants will put on an act because they perhaps want to come across as threatening, or they want to try and get away with something. However, if you’re kind and remain your good-hearted self through and through, this can be an incredibly hard act to keep up.

Follow all the points on this list, as well as remembering to wear a smile and stick to your guns, and you’ll have created a persona that will be hard for even the worst tenant to break down. Play smart.

4. Write Things Down

No matter what happens, you’ll want to make sure you’re writing everything down and keep a record of everything that’s going on. This way, you can keep an accurate record of everything that’s going on and when it happened, and then you’ll be able to use this in a court of law.

If you’re missing out on rent which can cause you financial problems, you should be able to claim on your condo insurance policy to cover the funds you need.

5. Officially Notify

If there’s a problem, such as damage to property, loud inconvenient noises, or late rent payments, make sure you’re officially asking them to pay up. This means giving them a letter in writing to state the problem, rather than just having a verbal agreement.

6. Ask to Leave

Of course, at the end of the day, you can simply ask your tenants to leave. You probably have a contract in place (you should have) which means you can simply ask them to leave. There may be a notice period, and if they refuse to go, simply take them to court.


As you can see, there are lots of different things to remember when it comes to dealing with a nightmare tenant. Make sure you’re taking the smart approach and not resorting to a cheap and easy tactic to try and get them out because this will rarely work, and can even backfire!

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