Landlord blog: Fool me once…?

Published: 28/04/2014

As one social landlord pledges to give rogue tenants a second chance and try and teach them the errors of their ways, Rob Denman considers whether a landlord can or should forgive and forget?

“This blog is starting to feel a little like relationship counselling! Last week I was talking about the effects of social media on a landlord/tenant relationship and now I’ve discussing whether ‘cheating’ tenants deserve to be given a second chance – move over Jeremy Kyle!

“This all started when I saw an article about Red Kite Community Housing, a provider of 6700 property to social tenants who, instead of evicting tenants for breaching their tenancy agreement, are offering them the opportunity to attend a two-hour course where they’ll be reminded of the conditions of their tenancy and of what is expected of them.

“While I appreciate this involves a large social landlord, it got me wondering whether private landlords would be willing to offer a similar olive branch, particularly in light of increasing court costs. Could it actually be of more benefit to ‘try again’ or should it be a case of one strike and you’re out?

“I guess such a decision boils down to the circumstances surrounding the breach. For example if the tenants have fallen into arrears because one of them has lost their job then you may be more willing to reconciliation than you would if they chose to spend their rent on a shiny new smart TV.

“It also depends of your existing relationship with your tenants. If they have demonstrated good behaviour in the past then there is something on which you can rebuild but if there has been a string of indiscretions then the damage is done and trying to repair it would be foolish – ok now I do sound like a marriage counsellor!

“But in all seriousness, whatever the relationship – be it personal or professional – it will only work if you talk to one another, to speak up if and when a problem arises. This works both ways, a partnership if you really want to go there! Landlords live up to their end of the tenancy agreement just as a tenant must meet theirs.

“One thing’s for certain though, given the financial implications involved in letting property, if you are to give a tenant a second chance then you need to be 100% sure that they have reformed or it really will be a case of fool me once – shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me.”

Rob DenmanRob Denman is a solicitor and Head of GW LET (Landlord Empowerment Team), specialising in such landlord legal issues as rent arrears, tenant eviction and tenancy deposit disputes. In his spare time Rob enjoys watching football and running. He is currently training for his second half marathon.

Content correct at time of publication

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