Landlords have a lot to lose with tenants who don't respect their property. If you have just come out of a bad tenant experience, there are a few things to do before you're out of the woods.
Go to Small Claims Court
Consider whether the damages are significant enough to warrant going to small claims court. It may not be worth your time and effort to collect on a little bit of back rent or damages. It really depends on how small your profit margin is. It also depends on whether you think the tenant could pay the money owed. Even if the courts assess that they owe you something, they may not be able to pay quick enough for it to be worth your time and effort.
Report to Credit Bureaus
If the issue had to do with not paying rent, you could report the incident to credit bureaus. You would be doing other future landlords and creditors a favor by letting the credit bureaus know about a bad experience you had with the tenant.
Write Up a Report for Your Files
Other landlords may call in the future and ask for references, but if the tenant truly had a bad experience with you, they might refrain from putting you on their rental history. Either way, it's a good idea to write down a statement of what happened for your records. You may not remember the details of what happened in the future when you need to give your opinion. And it will be important to be objective and state facts rather than simply say you didn't get along with the tenant.
Get Locks Rekeyed and Security Evaluated
If you think the tenant could potentially be malicious towards your property, make sure you get an evaluation from a locksmith, like Locksmith Services, to see how you can keep them off the property. Lock rekeying is the bare minimum. You may want to install additional deadbolts on entry doors and locks on gates. Security cameras could also be a helpful addition to the property. If you have additional money to spend, get the windows replaced with wire-embedded glass.
Do Better Screening
Some issues with tenants can be prevented through good screening. In the future, you might want to do a more thorough background check on tenants. That includes getting employment references, doing a credit check, talking with previous landlords, and looking at criminal records. It also involves going with your gut if you suspect that a tenant may not be cooperative.