No landlord wants them, but if you are a landlord for any period of time, you will probably have them: bad tenants.  You want them out. Sometimes you can get them to change their behavior by cajoling or threatening. Sometimes you can accept their bad behavior and wait until the end of their term. When it just isn't going to work, you need to report your bad tenants. Here's how...

This is a simple four step process for legally reporting bad tenants.  Following the process will give you better results, and it will minimize the potential for legal costs that you don't want.  Here are the four steps: 

1) Let the tenant know in writing that you will be recording every instance of their bad behavior.  Your tenant must understand that there will be consequences for their continued bad behavior.  If you can, get them to sign a document.

2) If they owe outstanding rent, tell them in writing that you are going to report it to the credit bureaus. A bad credit history could prevent them from getting a rental in the future. (Note: don't just threaten, if they do not pay, you need to actually report them.)

3) If there is still an issue, contact a debt collection company. A good way to start is the member directory in an organization called The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. Look here for a debt collection company that works in Santa Barbara, Ventura or along the Central Coast.

4) Contact a good real estate law attorney.  If you contact the Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell real estate law team, we will provide you with some ideas that are salient to your circumstances.

This process may seem simplistic, but it is suprising how often landlords just attempt to force the bad tenant to be good, without considering the possibility of legal action in the future.  If legal action is neccessary, diligently following these steps is golden.  

Need help with bad tenants or other legal issues involving real estate? Contact our Real Estate Law team.

- The Real Estate Law Team
  Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, LLP


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Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, LLP primarily serves individuals, families and businesses up and down California's Central Coast and North Los Angeles County, including many Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura County communities.

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