1. Make sure to keep a detailed list of all repair requests that the tenant made in writing and when you made any repairs. For a tenant to have standing in Idaho courts to file a claim for specific damages and performance against a landlord, the tenant must give their landlord three days written notice, listing each failure or breach upon which their action will be premised and written demand requiring performance or cure. Only after three days from when a written complaint has been provided to the landlord may the tenant have a cause of action against the landlord.
2. If the landlord hires an attorney, their attorney should immediately inform the problem tenant that the attorney represents the landlord and where necessary that their interests are different, and that the tenant may want to seek their own counsel. Remember, your attorney should not give any advice to the unrepresented tenant other than they should seek their own counsel.
3. Take the time to listen and negotiate with the problem tenant. Although you should protect your interest, remember the tenant is an unsophisticated party and is entitled to honest and fair dealing even if they may be unruly.
4. Make sure that the problem tenant clearly understands the terms of any agreement that you make with them (i.e. any settlement offer). If there is a misunderstanding or if they think they have been misled, the tenant could create even more of a headache for you and your attorney. Try to avoid any vast bargaining disparities in any agreement you make with the unrepresented tenant. It’s important to make an effort to ensure they understand, and willingly agree to any settlement.
5. Consider offering concessions to problem tenants to make them happy. It is often better to be flexible than go through the time and expense of a trial and the trouble of trying to collect on the full amount. For example, give them a 10 day window to move out. Allow them a reasonable time for them to collect their possessions and vacate the premises.
For representation in any eviction proceeding, contact ANGSTMAN JOHNSON to set up a consultation. 208.384.8588