New figures released today from the National Landlords Association reveal that one third of landlords have had their property abandoned by their tenants.
Abandonment is defined as when a tenant moves out of a property before their tenancy agreement has ended, but does not inform their landlord.
Of course, this issue can be very costly as this often occurs when tenants owe outstanding rent.
However, the tenant is still legally obliged to return to the property and take up residence at any time, providing their tenancy agreement is still running. It is a criminal offence for landlords to try and do anything that will prevent the tenancy from carrying on.
Around one-third of buy-to-let landlords have experienced problems with abandonment. In the North East of England, the problem is more pronounced, with 58% of landlords experiencing issues. 51% of landlords in the North have seen abandonment problems.
At the other end of the scale, 31% of landlords in the South West of England said their property had been abandoned, which was the lowest in the UK. 33% of landlords in the capital have had to deal with the issue.
You can protect yourself in case of tenants abandoning your buy-to-let property by taking out rent guarantee insurance. This will cover you against your tenants defaulting on their rent through no fault of your own.
In addition, it is also worth seriously considering taking out unoccupied property insurance. This will protect you should anything happen to your property when it lays vacant or during any void periods.
Another way of preventing abandonment by your tenants is to carry out sufficient reference checks before they move in. While this will not guarantee your tenants will stay in the property, you will be able to assess their previous renting history and if they have had any previous issues.
Abandonment unfortunately happens fairly frequently, but with the correct checks and cover, you can rest assured it will not be costly or deter from your rental yields!