4 Red Flags that Indicate it’s Time to Ask a Tenant to Move Out


Good tenants can be hard to find, so when you get a reliable tenant who pays rent on time and complies with the lease agreement, you want to hang onto them for as long as possible. On the contrary, tenants who don’t follow the rules or cause problems are not the type of tenants you want living in your rental.

Although not every problematic tenant will show their true colors until they choose to move out and you discover some damage, many show signs along the way that can indicate they’re going to cost you either stress or money. 

Here are the top red flags to look for in tenants that tell you it’s probably a good idea to give them notice to vacate.

1. They are frequently late with the rent

Most people have been late with the rent at least a few times in their life, but habitually late rent payments are another story. A tenant who frequently pays rent late might have trouble budgeting, and it’s only a matter of time before that rent check doesn’t show up at all.

There are many ways to deal with late rent. One is to enforce your late fees to encourage your tenant to pay on time, but for some people, that’s not much of a deterrent when they know you can’t evict them for ignoring late fees.

The swiftest and cleanest way to deal with tenants who don’t pay rent on time is to simply give them notice to vacate and find a new tenant who will pay on time. If a tenant pays rent after the specified due date and after any grace period you give them in the lease, that is a good enough reason to officially ask them to move out. If they refuse to move, then you can start the eviction process.

Collecting rent on time is one of the reasons property investors hire professional property managers. They have experience with choosing good tenants from the start and handling any issues that arise, including late rent. For instance, Green Residential, a Dallas property management company, handles everything for their clients. From screening applicants to collecting rent, they take the burden off of landlords. If you’re exhausted from all the work it takes to manage your tenants, hire a property manager to take over your landlord duties and don’t stress yourself out.

2. They intentionally refuse to follow the rules

Tenants routinely break their lease agreements, but it’s not always on purpose. However, some people seem to enjoy breaking the rules and they can be quite vocal if you ask them to correct the problem.

If you’re dealing with a tenant who breaks the rules and isn’t interested in correcting the problem, things will only get worse with time. A tenant who doesn’t respect you won’t respect your property, and you can probably expect to have extensive property damage by the time they move out.

Willful defiance, despite signing an agreement to follow certain rules, is a bad sign of worse things to come. If you ignore a tenant like this for too long, they will feel like they’re in control and will start playing power games with you. You can’t win arguments with someone like that, and they can’t be reasoned with, either. It will be a dead end that will drive you crazy until you give them notice to vacate.

3. They cause problems with neighbors

Tenants shouldn’t constantly be involved in disputes with neighbors. Occasional disagreements or frustrations over things like parking, loud music, and dog poop are fairly normal. If you notice your tenant is always involved in bigger arguments or at the center of police presence on your property, it’s time to cut them loose.

4. They’ve already caused major damage

Genuine accidents do happen, but if your tenant has already caused serious damage to your property, it might be a sign of carelessness that could happen again. For example, if your tenant or one of their guests already drove their car through the garage door, it’s hard to say whether or not it was truly an accident. If you have a tenant who has frequent accidents that cause property damage, it’s probably wise to give them notice.

Don’t wait to issue a notice to vacate

No matter what you’re dealing with, never wait to give a tenant notice to vacate. You can give second chances, but that doesn’t usually end in the landlord’s favor. To protect your investment, give notice as soon as you have a valid reason to ask your tenant to vacate.

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