How do I handle this situation – I have a tenant who not only is behind in the rent but refuses to allow access to the unit to repair a HVAC problem (unit is operational but a part does need to be replaced). When I tried to discuss the situation, with him, he made a physical threatening response towards me. I have filed a police report.

When a tenant doesn’t pay the rent on time (beyond any statutory grace period allowed by the lease agreement or required by state law) the landlord should serve the tenant with a “pay or quit” notice. If rent is not paid by the end of the period required by state law, the landlord can take legal action to begin the eviction process.

However it appears you have more than one problem. While a landlord has the right to enter a unit with proper notification to the tenant, if the tenant denies landlord entry, a landlord’s first step should be to meet with the tenant to see if the matter can be resolved. Since the tenant rejected your offer to discuss the matter, you could take steps to terminate the tenancy. You would need to research state statutes and review your lease agreement for appropriate language regarding remedies for a tenant’s breach of material terms and conditions of the lease. Remedies may include filing for eviction. Landlords must always avoid physical confrontations and quarrels with tenants who may be seeking to cause or escalate a problem.

It may be best to have an attorney deal with the matter rather than trying to work with the tenant directly. While most landlords want to handle the situation themselves it is sometimes the safest and best way to engage with an attorney when dealing with a problem tenant. Tenants usually respond to notifications from an attorney and the attorney can take appropriate legal action to remedy the matter. At the time of this writing an eviction moratorium may still be in effect and legal consultation may be necessary to determine the correct action and the timeframe.

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