All landlords can describe situations where they just knew a problem tenant situation was brewing, as the hours and days of effort to address the matter accumulated. Yet, when they look back at the tenant file, they see little (if any) documentation of their efforts to address the problem – a situation that may very well hamper their ability to obtain a positive resolution.
We realize that documentation takes time and energy, which can be in short supply for property managers tasked with handling all the issues that can arise in a multi-unit complex. Nonetheless, effective documentation means victory when a landlord is faced with the need to take legal action against a problem tenant.
Maintaining the correct documentation need not be vexing and time-consuming. Below are some examples of effective documentation that you can easily put into practice:
- First, procedurally, every communication sent should contain the date it was sent, how it was sent, and the writer’s name typed underneath his or her actual signature.
- Second, a copy of each signed communication should be saved to the tenant file.
- Lastly, each communication should substantively address the problem and the landlord’s position in a way that a third party with no background or information about the situation (like a judge) could understand exactly what was happening and what the landlord was doing about it.
Contact THS if you have questions about what documentation is necessary to address a problem tenant matter, and how to ensure that documentation effectively protects your legal rights.