Letting a property can be straightforward and profitable for many landlords. But dealing with difficult tenants can really affect your buy-to-let business.
If you are worried about problem tenants, here are some tips on preventing and resolving the situation:
Set out the rules
As a landlord, you are legally obliged to provide your tenants with your name and contact details. However, it is vital that you put together a detailed tenancy agreement so that you can set out the rules of the tenancy from the start. Include any responsibilities that your tenant will have upon moving into the property and any special requirements specific to your investment. If your tenants know what they must do before moving in, you are less likely to face problems throughout the tenancy.
Take a deposit
Tenants will be less likely to cause damage to your property or leave it in a bad condition if they could potentially lose money. By giving them a thorough inventory and taking a deposit, you are showing tenants that you won’t accept any property damage and they will face the consequences if they do not look after their home. However, be aware that you must protect their deposit within 30 days in a Government-approved tenancy deposit scheme. By law, you must also provide the tenants with prescribed information.
Ensure you have an inventory
Inventories are the best way to avoid deposit disputes at the end of a tenancy. If you inspect the property and find that the tenant has caused damage or has not cleaned the property before moving out, you must be able to prove that the home was in a good condition when they moved in. It is a landlord’s responsibility to provide evidence in the event of a dispute, so don’t be caught out. An inventory details the condition and contents of the property, so that the tenant knows the exact state of their new home and how to leave it when they move out.
Protect yourself against property damage
Although your property must be protected against damage included in most home insurance policies, Landlord Property Insurance should also include cover for loss that can occur from situations unique to the lettings sector. This includes malicious damage by the tenant and public liability protection. The Just Landlords policy offers 33 essential covers as standard, meaning that you will never be hit with an astronomical bill. Our policy offers the widest Landlord Insurance cover on the market, so don’t miss out!
Dealing with rent arrears
Rent arrears are one of the greatest financial risks to a landlord and can cause significant strain. If your tenants either don’t pay the rent or pay the rent late, you could face financial difficulty yourself, and this is something you can’t risk. If your tenant does default on the rent, it is important to communicate with them as soon as possible. Always be understanding and polite, but remember to let them know that rent arrears are unacceptable. How you decide to deal with a tenant that doesn’t pay the rent is up to you, but you should always protect your income. Rent Guarantee Insurance ensures that you still get paid if your tenant falls into rent arrears. Just Landlords will begin covering your lost rent after just one month of arrears.
The last resort – eviction
Although you may have tried to resolve problems with your tenants, sometimes there is no other choice but to start the evictions process. It is rare that you will need to take these steps, but dealing with difficult tenants can be stressful, time-consuming and costly. Landlords must use either a section 21 or section 8 notice to evict a tenant. If your tenants do not leave by the date specified on the notice, you can apply to the court for a possession order. If you are forced to go down this route, our Rent Guarantee Insurance also covers any legal expenses you incur through evicting tenants, so ensure you are protected!
If you think that your tenants are involved in illegal activity or you are concerned that approaching them will put you in danger, you must call the police to deal with the situation.
While we hope that you never have to deal with difficult tenants, these steps should help you avoid costly and challenging situations.