Options For Landlords With Bad Tenants

Landlords who have problems with renters can generally categorize their problems as one of the following:

  • Renters who are not paying
  • Renters who are damaging the property
  • Renters who are otherwise violating the rental agreement

Although the facts and circumstances are different with every landlord and renter, the problems in these categories are generally resolved using one or more of the following options:

  • Evict the renter with an unlawful detainer action
  • Sue the renter in Conciliation (small claims) Court
  • Negotiate a resolution with the renter so that legal action is not necessary and the renter leaves the property.

In other words, you can either work out the problems directly with the renter or ask the Courts to work the matter out for you. Landlords who are familiar with Minnesota law often represent themselves in Court. If your property is rented under an LLC, the Court may require you to have the LLC represented by an attorney since you are not personally the landlord of the property and the general rule in Minnesota is that businesses must be represented by a lawyer.

The legal complications involved in obtaining Court action with a bad tenant relate to interpreting the language of your rental agreement or lease and applying Minnesota Statutes to the situation. Minnesota Statutes sometimes preempt language in a rental agreement, so even though your renter signed the agreement, that language may not be enforceable because it is prohibited under Minnesota law.

To assist landlords we offer two options:

  1. Meet with landlords for one-hour to advise them on their legal rights and options and to put together a strategy that the landlord can implement to deal with the renter without additional representation from an attorney.
  2. Represent landlords in unlawful detainer evictions and suing renters for past due rent and damages to the property.

Usually it is best for landlords to start with the first option, so they can meet with an experienced real estate attorney, understand their rights, learn their legal options, and assess whether it makes financial sense to represent themselves or be represented by an attorney. In cases where the landlord does not live in Minnesota, it may make more sense to hire an attorney than cover all the travel expenses and have the stress of dealing with the legal matters without the help of an attorney.

Leave a Public Comment

  • Ron Underhill
    March 11, 2012, 11:15 am

    Why not have a website (Subscription for Landlords) to make available to other subscription landlords a tenant(s) name who are not to be considered as a potential renter.

    Landlords should verify name and drivers license number, so mistakes are minimal. But if the tenant proves to be less than desired, their name goes on the list as Bad tenants, and their application is declined without the tenant knowing that they’ve been checked.

    My wife and I are hard working people. I pay my rent from my earnings, not from some government agency. In the last 4 years since we’ve moved in, 5 bad tenants have been evicted from the unit next door. Costing the landlord thousands of dollars to fix the damages.

    So I think it’s time for a wake up call to the bad tenants out there. Sooner or later their path of destruction will come back to haunt them.

    The people next door staged a break in just so they could get a month without paying any rent. Because after the break in happened, the tenants went to a hotel and sat by the pool with food and beverage. Can we say “Spending the rent money yet?”

    Thank you, I feel sorry for our land lord, he’s too trusting and kind. He actually believes the stories these renters say when they interview for the unit.