How to deal with demanding tenants

Here's how to deal with a demanding tenant without the need for expert-level negotiation skills

Landlord advice

29 March 2017

While most tenant relationships are easy to manage, you may find some require a bit more attention.

However, disputes over repairs or rent don’t have to be inevitable when you have a demanding tenant. A positive and proactive approach can help you maintain a good relationship.

Communicate frequently

Arrange regular catch-ups with your tenants, and make it easy for them to contact you. Students may prefer communicating by social media or text message; older tenants may appreciate a phone call or face-to-face meeting. Frequent contact will allow any problems to be dealt with swiftly, but do set boundaries – such as no calls after a certain time.

Create an inventory

Furniture and other household contents you’ve provided should be listed and described in an inventory. Once this document is signed by you and your tenant, it will provide a quick resolution to any future disagreements over these items. That’s why it’s important to be specific in your inventory, including the age and condition of all the contents.

Keep the property well decorated

Make sure your property remains in good condition – if everything looks fine and is in working order, tenants will be less likely to complain. If you list the property as furnished, you’ll need to provide certain items (including a bed, curtains, a sofa, central heating and a fully equipped kitchen) and ensure any upholstered furniture meets fire safety standards.

Understand your rights

Demanding tenants are one thing, unreasonable tenants are another. If your tenant doesn’t pay the rent on time, damages your property and behaves antisocially, it’s important to understand your rights so you know what action to take:

  • Rental payments: Your tenancy agreement should detail how much rent is due and when it should be paid.
  • Evictions: If a tenant hasn’t paid the rent, and hasn’t agreed to a solution, then landlords are legally entitled to serve an eviction notice.
  • Reclaiming costs: Accidental damage caused by the tenant, which the landlord pays for, can be claimed back under a residential landlords insurance policy. Anything specifically against the tenancy agreement, such as damage caused by banned pets, can be taken from a tenant’s deposit.
  • Access: Bear in mind that landlords can’t enter a property whenever they like; they must have permission from the tenant and give at least 24 hours’ notice. 

It makes sense for both parties for the relationship between a tenant and landlord to be as smooth as possible – after all, it’s a partnership. Being open and honest with your tenant from the very start should eliminate any future difficulties, and a friendly and calm manner should help the relationship during even the most testing times.

Why not tell your story of demanding tenants or unreasonable landlords, and tell us how you resolved the situation in the comments below.