Landlords provide their tenants with a place to call home, but it can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Every property manager has faced sleepless nights worrying about past due rent checks and buildings overrun with pests, but there are ways to keep the nightmares at bay.

Late Rent

The first of the month can be nerve-wracking. No matter how thorough your background check or how reliable a tenant has been in the past, the moment before you open the mailbox is full of tension. When you find a payment missing, it is vital that you communicate with your tenant immediately.

Without a doubt, you should have a clause in your lease that requires tenants to pay a penalty for late rent so they’re motivated to pay on time. Late fees are usually $20 to $100 per day depending on the property and location. Ensure that your resident knows about these penalties before signing the lease and in the event that an issue does arise.

If an otherwise trustworthy tenant is going through a rough financial patch, consider working with them to the best of your abilities. A delayed rent payment from a good resident will always be preferable to an empty unit that may be filled by someone less dependable. Options include:

-Moving the tenant to a less costly unit.
-Changing the due date to match when the resident gets paid
-Allowing a grace period of up to a week before charging late fees
-Asking the tenant to consider a roommate
-Negotiating a payment plan (with or without interest)

If none of these methods are successful, eviction may be your best option.

Pest Control

Whether it’s roaches, spiders, bed bugs, ants, mice, or another creepy-crawly, there is little more headache-inducing than pests. Failing to address pest concerns in apartments, duplexes, and homes can prove to be a costly mistake. Frustrated tenants are quick to move out and speak ill of otherwise excellent properties.

The best way to avoid the hassle is to address problems as soon as they are reported. Call an exterminator immediately. If possible, build a relationship with and knowledgeable exterminator and their team to avoid miscommunication and bad service. An improper treatment can drag out a pest control issue, costing you time, money, and your tenant’s trust.

If you own several units or properties, consider setting up a regular pest control routine. Spraying for common pests every few months can stop problems before they happen and alert you to any unreported issues.