An Easier Way to Deal With Problem Tenants?

by Chris on September 5, 2011

The Rockford Apartment Association, in Rockford, Illinois, describes alternatives landlords there have for dealing with the decline of rental properties caused by disruptive guests.

The Association outlines a two-pronged approach that allows landlords to keep control so rental properties don’t deteriorate into crime-ridden neighborhoods, and good tenants don’t flee.

First, the Association points out that a Supreme Court case in Illinois cleared the way for landlords in the state to bar guests who disturb other tenants or who may be committing crimes, like drug trafficking. Prior to this court decision, landlords had no remedy other than evicting the tenant for a lease violation.

 Eviction not only takes a long time, but proving grounds for the eviction could require proving that a crime was committed.

Now, Illinois landlords are encouraged to include a lease provision which puts tenants on notice that certain guest behavior, which can include disturbing other tenants, is a violation of the lease.  Judging the behavior is left to the discretion of the landlord.

According to the Association, guests who have broken the rules must be given one warning to get off the property.  After that, they are subject to arrest for trespassing. The current penalty for trespassing includes a fine or time in jail.

Illinois courts have upheld the right of landlords to compile a list of offending guests who are banned from the property.

The Association also provides members with instructions on how to properly screen tenants, including running a criminal background check so they are not renting to someone who is likely to attract problem guests.

It should be noted that while these rules apply to Section 8 housing, they do not apply to public housing. Landlords have the option of notifying police of names on the barred guest list.

The Rockford Apartment Association heralds this law as a breakthrough for both police and landlords in dealing with crime in rental properties because it is no longer necessary to wait to catch a guest in the act before they can be removed from the property. 

Not all states have taken these steps. However, it pays to find out from the local police department what options are available to landlords in the event a property starts to turn from tenant-friendly to disruptive, or possibly criminal.

Direct involvement with the police in monitoring crime can be a valuable tool for all landlords, and is the foundation of the International Crime Free Rental Housing Program.

Ask your local police or sheriff’s department if they participate, or encourage them to set up a training, which includes information about tenant screening practices including criminal background checks, a risk assessment of the rental property, and networking opportunities with local landlords who share the same concerns.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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