How to deal with problem tenants

Ask any landlord what the worst part of being a landlord is, and they’ll probably say the tenants. Here are some ideas to help deal with those problem tenants.

Landlords are well aware they wouldn’t even be landlords if there weren’t any tenants in the first place, but even if all the credit checks and references are in place, things can go wrong. 

So, what do you do if your tenant is giving you problems? 

Keep communication open

First of all, if your tenant is usually the perfect tenant and they’re acting out of character, take a step back before going in all barrels blazing. Communicate with your tenant, either directly or through your letting agent, to find out if there’s something you can help with to get your tenant back on track. 

What to do if your tenant has stopped paying the rent

Obviously, the tenant/landlord relationship exists solely on the basis of the tenant paying the landlord rent. 

If your tenant is usually bang on time at paying the rent, hopefully this failure in paying the rent is a temporary blip. As we said above, communicate with your tenant. Perhaps they lost their job and don’t have any savings and are now terrified they’ll lose their home too. 

Find out why they haven’t paid their rent and come to an agreement. Ask the tenant to keep you updated but, if they go too long without paying the rent, you may have to issue an eviction notice. 

Tenants being a nuisance to neighbours 

The neighbours of your property have the right not to be disturbed by your tenants. If the neighbours are complaining your tenants are being a nuisance, ask the neighbours to speak to the tenants directly. 

If the tenants don’t keep the noise down, the neighbours are within their rights to call the police or the environmental department of the local council to intervene. 

You/the neighbours can also ask your letting agent, if you have one, to issue your tenants a warning letter. 

Damage caused by tenants

Along with failure to pay the rent, the main problem reported by landlords is damage to their property. Hopefully you had a detailed inventory drawn up before your tenants moved in and can prove they’ve caused the damage. 

Regular inspections can help prevent damage as, if the tenants know you’ll be turning up periodically to inspect the property, they’re more likely to keep it in good order. 

When you undertake your inspections, record times of the visits and take any necessary photos or videos for evidence if needed. 

Don’t let your tenants take advantage of you

There’s a difference between being a good landlord who allows the odd late payment of rent or doesn’t freak out over a spilled cup of tea and being a walkover who lets their tenants get away with not paying rent for months while they trash the place. 

Ensure you have a tenancy agreement in place which outlines your and your tenant’s responsibilities and never shy away from reminding your tenants of the terms of the tenancy agreement. 

You don’t have to breathe down your tenants’ necks every five minutes but you do need to keep your relationship professional and on an even track.  If you do need to speak to your tenants about something, keep calm and composed and remember you can only evict them if they’re in breach of their agreement.

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