Tenant conflict can occur for a number of reasons. Even those with a good landlord-tenant relationship can come across issues now and again.
Whether there has been a disagreement that needs to be resolved or you’ve received complaints from a neighbour, how you react is important.
Situations vary, but being prepared will help you to keep your cool and deal with it as efficiently as possible. We hope you find the following tips helpful with dealing with any tenant conflict you run into:
What to do when a tenant disrespects your property
Before moving in, tenants should sign a tenancy agreement clearly stating the terms and conditions for living in the property. For example, it is typical for landlords to prohibit smoking in the property. Such terms help to avoid damage to the property. Agreements can also state that damage caused will be deducted from their deposit at the end of the tenancy. This works as an incentive for them to adhere to these rules.
Unfortunately, despite how clear the rules are, you might end up with a tenant who will break them anyway. If this is the case, you need to face the matter head-on. Remind them of the consequences if they continue to break the terms stated in the tenancy agreement. Depending on the issue, this could be as severe as beginning the eviction process.
How to deal with complaints from neighbours about your tenants
Tenants who disrespect those that live near them are often difficult to handle. This can be because they are unaware of the issue or they feel their neighbours are in the wrong.
Trying to mediate between two parties in a heated argument can often be difficult for landlords. Speaking to them separately will allow you to discuss the issue when they have calmed down. You can remind them to be more considerate of those around them, but it’s important not to come across patronising.
If the complaint is straightforward, such as your tenants playing loud music late at night, ask your tenants to consider how they would feel if it was the other way around. If the music is for a celebration, they should provide their neighbours with prior warning and agree on a time to turn the volume down.
Neighbours might make a complaint to the local council, who will investigate and may issue a warning notice. If your tenants continue to ignore such warnings, they may face a fine or even prosecution.
What to do if your tenant fails to pay their rent
Whether your tenant fails to pay their rent completely or just consistently pays late, this isn’t good for you. It can be frustrating and stressful, especially when you don’t know if they are struggling or simply don’t care.
Taking out rent guarantee insurance can provide a safety net for when payments are missed. However, we’re sure you’d rather not have to make a claim at all. Speak to your tenants to find out why they have missed payments – you might be able to help. For example, if they are in receipt of Universal Credit and struggling to manage their finances, it might be possible to arrange part of this benefit to go directly to you, as the landlord.
Having a clause in your tenancy agreement can help if your tenant won’t cooperate. Remind them that they are expected to pay on time and what the consequence will be if they don’t. For example, you might have it stated in the agreement that after three months of arrears you will be prepared to start the eviction process.
Even though this might seem harsh, the fact of the matter is that rent arrears could lead you to fall behind on your mortgage repayments.
How to respond to tenants undertaking illegal activities in your property
If you find out illegal activities are taking place in your property, you will want to avoid any tenant conflict. Whether they are involved in anti-social behaviour, drug farming, or any other crime, you need to contact the police.
Tenants that are involved in illegal activity are not only a danger to those around them but also your business, so even if you have your doubts, ask the police to investigate as soon as possible.
Top tips to avoid tenant conflict
- Stay calm – no situation is made better by shouting and panicking
- Think things through logically before acting
- Care about your tenants’ needs, but don’t let them take advantage of you
- Get help if you need it – landlord associations, the Citizens Advice Bureau, and your local council are there if you need them
- Never put your safety at risk – if a situation is dangerous or gets out of hand, call the police