Handling Lettings Disasters


We have all heard the lettings scare stories, seen programmes on TV about the tenants from hell, and even read the news stories about rogue letting agents. However, the fact of the matter is that even though the amount of issues a landlord has to deal with on a regular basis is not as extreme as the media often makes out, there are times when you will have to deal with some difficult ones.

Being a landlord means you not only have to look after your properties, but also keep an eye on your financial paperwork and deal with the responsibilities that come with having tenants. Unfortunately, having so many things to manage at once means that every now and again you will be left in a situation where you will need to cope with the consequences.

One of the most important things we have learned is that being prepared can make a huge difference, which is why this article focuses on what you can do when you find yourself in a difficult situation:

Issue #1: Large-Scale Property Damage

Finding that one of your properties has been affected by a fire, flood or vandalism is never pleasant, and unfortunately there are some things that you just can’t stop from happening. For example, if one of your tenants accidently leaves the oven or an iron on and your property catches fire, there is nothing you can do except deal with the damage. Naturally, the first thing you will need to do is contact your landlord insurance provider and explain the situation, however, after that there are a few things you will need to consider, including:

  • Do your tenants need to be re-housed? If so, do you have another property that you can move them into or will you need to temporarily house them in a bed and breakfast?
  • Has there been any damage to the buildings surrounding yours, or is your building currently posing a threat to those around it?
  • Have your tenants contacted their contents insurance provider and informed them of the situation?
  • When will you be able to start re-building the property, and what steps will your insurer take to help with this?

The above considerations should be made whether your property is affected by a fire, flood or any other form of large-scale property damage. However, if criminal actions were involved, you will also need to contact the police.

Issue #2: Difficult Tenants

One of the biggest issues when it comes to some tenants is obeying the rules set out in their tenancy agreements, such as not bringing pets into the property, refraining from smoking, or caring for the property in the required manner. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do when it comes to tenants who don’t, or won’t, follow the rules, and so you will have to eventually make the choice to start the eviction process. Again, if you think your tenants are involved in illegal activity, or you are concerned that approaching them could put you in danger, call the police and get them involved.

Issue #3: Rogue Letting Agents

As the private rental sector is doing so well right now, we have seen a number of new landlords and letting agents spring up across the UK. Unfortunately, not all are in it for the right reasons, so you need to be careful that you don’t fall foul of a rogue letting agent. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to research your letting agent before signing any paperwork and if you are ever in doubt, choose a letting agent that has voluntarily registered under either ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) or the NLA (National Landlords Association).

Don’t forget that you always have a choice when it comes to letting agents and if you feel pressured or wary of one, it’s probably best you move on to another. At the end of the day, this is your money and your tenants’ homes you’re dealing with, both of which your letting agent should give the time and attention they deserve.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and is not official guidance, FCA approved, or legally precise. Just Landlords has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. If you require information on landlord legislation or best practices please contact your legal representative. For details see our conditions.

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