Seven tips to prevent rogue tenants

Published: 19/07/2013

A new BBC documentary has revealed rogue tenants owe landlords £282 million in rent and damages. While there are no full proof guarantees our experts at GW LET have come up with some helpful tips for landlords to minimise the potential risks of letting property:

  1. A thorough vetting process
    Some landlords still rely solely on their own intuition when choosing tenants. While this is not something to be underestimated, the whites of a tenant’s eyes only tells you so much so it is essential that landlords undertake a thorough vetting process. This includes getting:
    • A credit reference
    • An employer’s reference
    • A landlord reference
    Some landlords also ask to see a tenant’s bank statements in order to ensure affordability.
  2. Tenancy deposit schemes
    A landlord must protect a tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme and provided the prescribed information to the tenant within 30 days. If you fail to do this and then need to evict the tenant it will be increasingly difficult as Section 21 Notice’s will be considered invalid.
  3. Before and after
    It is really important to take a full inventory of a property before tenants move in. This includes taking pictures throughout the property so should the tenant cause any damage you have sufficient evidence to submit to the tenancy deposit scheme.
  4. Communication is key
    While you must not unnecessarily disturb tenants, it is important to establish regular contact. When it comes to drafting the original tenancy agreement it is advisable to include a clause which allows you to regularly visit and inspect the property. This will give you a good opportunity to foresee any potential problems and, ideally, nip them in the bud. It is also a good idea to have regular contact with the neighbours who will be able to report any potential issues.
  5. Get some guarantees
    There are a couple of things a landlord can do to put some additional guarantees in place when letting property. The first is to secure a guarantor agreement where the named person agrees to pay any owing rent. A landlord may also want to consider taking out a rent guarantee insurance policy which could cover any outstanding rent arrears.
  6. Time is of the essence
    If a tenant is late with their rent a landlord must act immediately. Failing to do so could give the tenant the wrong impression, suggesting they can get away with tardy payments which could lead to a bigger problem. Contact your tenant straightaway and ask why the payment is late – there could be a very genuine reason – before requesting an immediate payment. Many landlords try and mitigate this situation by setting up direct debits.
  7. If all else fails, seek eviction
    But make sure you follow the correct procedure or, ideally, seek professional help. Evicting a tenant is not a straightforward process and failing to following the strict legislation could give the tenant an opportunity to claim compensation against you.

Content correct at time of publication

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