Delaware landlords must understand how to handle problematic tenants

Landlords in Delaware must know how to navigate bad residents. The right approach sets the proper foundation for a satisfying resolution.

You became a landlord recently, providing people in Delaware with a place to live. Perhaps you experienced a problematic tenant in the last few weeks or months. You are not sure of the most favorable way to handle this situation, especially because you do not want to inadvertently violate a tenant's rights. Gaining insight into laws regarding residential property could help you figure out what to do next.

Recognize when to step in

When the problem exists between two tenants, you do not immediately have to involve yourself. Let the tenants work together to develop a compromise. That way, they can better their chances of creating a solution that benefits them both. If you have to step in, someone may face eviction, a fact that you can remind tenants to better inspire them to resolve issues without your input.

Now is a good time to add a tenant resolution clause to future leases. Note that tenants must initially work together to solve their problems before involving you. Also, let your tenants know that they may not like your decision if they cannot compromise and turn the situation over to you.

Consider involving law enforcement

Do you regularly see law enforcement vehicles at your property? If so, call the local police to see if they regularly receive calls about one (or more) of your property's tenants. Doing so helps you narrow down which residents cause the most problems.

Get ahead of future bad tenants

While addressing current terrible tenants, get proactive about future problematic tenants. Check all applicants' credit reports, criminal records and rental histories. You can include a credit check fee with all applications to cover the cost.

Another good idea is calling an applicant's former landlords and employers. While you may only receive limited information, you may get enough details that help you make a sound decision.

When units become vacant, reach out to your current exemplary tenants to see if they know of anyone who may want to move onto the property. Offer an incentive such as a gift card, rent credit or cash for a positive referral.

Properly notify problematic tenants

When you learn about bad tenants, address the issue correctly. For instance, you may have to write a letter to the tenant about the lease violation. Consult your lease to double-check that the tenant violated the agreement and to determine the most favorable path of recourse.

Sometimes, you may have no choice but to take legal action to respond to a bad resident. Always ensure that you resolve such issues according to Delaware law.