• Problem tenants: Common issues and how to handle them

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    If you are a landlord, you will need to prepare yourself for the possibility of dealing with problem tenants. Problem tenants can cause you a great deal of stress. The government are increasingly keen to keep court procedures to a minimum – and there’s also the abolishment of section 21 looming. So, if you are self-managing, then good luck, because the road ahead doesn’t exactly look smooth. Here’s how to prepare yourself for some of the problems you might encounter – and how best to deal with them.

    Dealing with problem tenants: Keep on top of legislation

    With legislation in a state of near constant flux, you’ll need to make sure you are aware of both current rules and upcoming changes. The NRLA can assist you with this, but they are not solicitors. Breaching regulations will have increasingly serious consequences. If you find yourself in serious in trouble; it’s best to find a solicitor who specialises in landlord law.


    Problem tenants: Minimising the risk

    Before you begin a tenancy, it’s advisable to:

    • Clean the property
    • Take a security deposit
    • Get a Gas Safety Certificate
    • Make Sure Your Electrical Inspection Record is up to date
    • Take a meter reading
    • Run a background check
    • Take out landlord insurance
    • Get a reference
    • Get an up-to-date inventory
    • Ensure your tenancy agreement meets legal requirements (you might need help with this)


    However, even if you have done everything in your power to prevent potential problems; nothing is guaranteed. Here are some common problems you may still encounter – and how to manage them.


    1. Damage to your property

    A common problem experienced by landlords is damage to the property. The level of damage will obviously range in severity but can have serious consequences. Be prepared for everything, from simple wear and tear to a completely trashed property. Ultimately, it’s the tenant who’s responsible for any damage that they cause to the property they are renting. But it can often be difficult to resolve the situation (especially in the cases of sever damage).

    • Make sure your tenancy agreement outlines what repairs you are responsible for
    • Inspect your property on a regular basis
    • claim against any damages caused by your tenant
    • If the damage is serious, you can also deduct the repair cost from the security deposit
    • It’s safer not to allow pets, especially if your property is furnished. At the same time, it could put you at an advantage. It all depends on the pet and the person.


    1. Problem tenants: Dealing with complaints from neighbours

    • Ask your tenants to stop as a first step. This might be all it takes.
    • If complaints continue, there may be illegal activity going on
    • Regular inspections can help establish this
    • The neighbours may alert you to signs of this also
    • Even if you find no evidence, make sure everything is in writing. You’ll then have a record in this worst-case scenario
    • Call the police in cases of instances such as drug sales or violence


    1. Problem tenants and rent arrears

    You can experience rent arrears whether your tenants are problematic or not. Either way, it’s still clearly a problem.

    • Keep legal action as a last resort
    • Most landlord insurance will cover unpaid rent
    • Talk to your tenant, find out what the issue is and when they are likely to pay
    • retain a record of your correspondence
    • Send receipts for all rent paid
    • If the tenant receives housing benefit, find out whether they are eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment
    • Agree a deadline in writing if you are not intending on evicting immediately


    1. Evicting a problem tenant who won’t leave

    • If they don’t leave at the agreed time, you can apply for a possession order
    • You may need to seek legal advice
    • Issue a section 21 (although this won’t be an option soon)
    • Issue a section 8
    • Don’t change locks: the tenant is entitled to stay until they are evicted


    1. Illegal subletting 

    If your tenant is subletting without your permission, they are breaking the law. If they are prepared to break the law in one area, they may be more inclined to break the law in other areas. Therefore, they are statistically more likely to be a problem tenant. Your best option is to email  fraud(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)scambs.gov.uk and provide:

    • Property address
    • Name of tenant or tenants
    • a brief description of them
    • the vehicle registrations of resident(s)
    • As much additional information as possible


    Here to help you make the right choices

    All sounds a bit stressful, doesn’t it? How about you let us look after your properties? You’ll have no contact with the tenant. We can go to court on your behalf. Carry out regular inspections. Minimise void periods. Select the highest quality tenants. Provide you with the option of taking your rent a year upfront. Cover rental arrears. Ensure you the best ROI – and make sure everything is fully compliant. You don’t have to worry about anything. Get in touch here if you want to work with one of the most trusted agencies in the UK.

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