The private rental sector is enjoying one of the biggest upturns in living memory. Buy-to-let represents a shrewd investment for those looking to make an investment. To pay the mortgage and to make money from your property, you will inevitably need tenants. The vast majority of tenants will care for the property and pay their rent on time; however, in some instances, a tenant may fall behind with their rent or present other issues for landlords.
In this blog post, we will cover the main issues that you, as a landlord, may face and what you can do about them.
#1 – Choose your tenants wisely
One of the best ways to ensure you don’t have to deal with bad tenants is by preventing them from entering your property in the first place. Tenant screening services offer an opportunity for landlords to separate the wheat from the chaff. In particular, you’ll be able to identify tenants that have had adverse credit history, rental arrears, or have abused accommodation during a previous tenancy.
#2 – Deal with rental arrears swiftly
On occasion, tenants may fall into arrears. At this stage, it is important to open dialogue with your tenant and find out why they have fallen into arrears, when they intend to pay their rent, and if there is anything you can do to help. Typically, agreeing a repayment plan is a useful step to resolving this situation quickly.
If your tenant doesn’t want to communicate with you or is actively avoiding your calls and emails, you may consider eviction. In order for an eviction notice to be served, tenants must have at least two months’ rental arrears.
By staying on top of rental arrears, you will minimise the amount of time you are out of pocket.
#3 – Stamp out subletting
Unauthorised subletting is on the increase in the UK, and you should ensure this is strictly prohibited in the tenancy agreement. It has been widely reported that some tenants use spare rooms to host Airbnb guests, or even host more people than you can legally fit into a property in an effort to supplement their income.
This spurious practice can put the safety of your property at risk. In some cases, tenants have made structural modifications to properties in an attempt to accommodate unreasonable numbers of subtenants. Often, these modifications fail to follow health and safety precautions, resulting in damage, injuries to those living in your property, and possible legal action.
Unfortunately, these sorts of situations can often be tricky to avoid. However, routine inspections and detailed referencing of tenants can help combat this issue.
#4 – Schedule regular inspections
In most tenancy agreements, when tenants move into your property, they assume responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of it. This includes reporting any damage or faults that need to be repaired in and around your property. Tenants that are particularly negligent, careless, or even worried about reporting damage or faults can cause bigger problems further down the line. Things such as leaking pipes need to be addressed immediately to ensure they don’t escalate and cause significant damage to your property.
Establish a clear process for reporting issues and faults. Try to be as approachable as you can about these sorts of issues. By doing so, you will build a relationship with your tenant where they will proactively report issues with your property, helping you to maintain and keep it in good condition. Talk to your tenant when they first move in and make them aware of the kind of things you’ll be able to help with.
If you have exhausted every opportunity, consider legal advice
Not all disputes between a tenant and landlord have to be settled legally. Frequently, by communicating openly and clearly with your tenant, you will be able to avoid pursuing legal channels to resolve your issue. However, if your tenant continues to cause difficulties for you, we recommend speaking to our Landlord and Tenant disputes team on 0161 929 0121. For email queries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by allowing us to get back in touch with you by completing our online enquiry form.