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Dealing with difficult tenants

dealing with difficult tenants
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The rental sector is booming, with 40% more people living in rented accommodation than in 2006. As someone who lives in a rented home, I can vouch for the fact that most of us are respectable people who will treat our landlords and their homes well. However, there are some loose canons as with everything, and so here are some tips for dealing with difficult tenants.

When becoming a landlord it’s crucial that you understand your legal rights before you begin renting out houses. Here are some common problems landlords may have to deal with.

My tenant is refusing to pay rent, what can I do?

Before your tenant moves in you should have a written agreement in place to assure payment. It’s also a good idea to encourage them to place a standing order so you can keep a record of when and how much you’ve been paid.

If your agreement is in place and your tenant still refuses to pay you then you can serve them an eviction notice, although this requires a legal procedure. You can also attempt to reclaim any unpaid rent afterwards

You should also check the terms and conditions stated in your contract with your letting agent for if you have a ‘full property management service’ this may entitle your agent o collect missed payments for you.

I’d like to raise the rent, is this okay?

Obviously, you can’t be raising the rent whenever you want a new conservatory; there are always external factors that must apply in order for you to legally raise the rent. The amount your tenants pay must be comparable to other similar properties in the area in order to be justifiable.

My tenants have damaged/neglected my property, what can I do?

dealing with difficult tenantsAlthough of course tenants have a responsibility to keep your home in good condition, it’s inevitable: accidental damage will occur.  Minor damage is referred to as “fair wear and tear” and can’t really be helped. That said, you should ask your tenant for a damage deposit just in case future damage is extensive.

Tenants are accountable for keeping the property clean and for basic maintenance, like changing light bulbs. Also, if your contract specifically says no pets are allowed and they ignore this rule leading to significant damage caused by animals then you can deduct money from their damage deposit. Everything else up to fair wear and tear is your responsibility.

If you tenant has caused extensive damage and are refusing to pay for it then you do have a right to evict them.

Even though the home is technically my property, what can’t I do?

It is actually illegal for a landlord to turn up at their tenant’s home without letting them know in advance. Impromptu visits can actually be classed as harassment, so you must gain permission from your tenants at least 24 hours before you plan to turn up at the property even if you are going to carry out repairs.

Choose your tenants carefully

Make sure you screen your tenants thoroughly! A good letting agent – that is, preferably one who’s registered with the Residential Letting Agents – will help you by checking the applicants’ credit rating, employment status and gaining dependable references.

Before they move in

Make an inventory of everything in the property before they move in. If any damage is caused whilst your tenant is living there, you will have photographic evidence of the condition and contents of the home prior to their arrival. You can obviously do this yourself, however if a legal battle pursues it will be your word against your tenants. The best way to make an inventory is to hire an independent, competent third party to inspect the house.

How to evict troublesome tenants

If you have taken all the precautions and still your tenants are irresponsible and disrespectful individuals then you have the right to evict them. There should be a notice period specified in the agreement your tenant signed, giving them time to vacate the building.

However, if your tenant refuses to leave you can go to the courts to get a possession order. If this is granted and your tenant still does not comply then you can apply for an eviction warrant with the county court, they will arrange for bailiffs to be sent.

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About Siobhan Harmer

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About Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan Harmer is an English Freelance writer who drinks far too much coffee!!

Website: Siobhan Harmer

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