Tenants are the lifeblood of the rental industry. Every landlord wants to find the ideal set of tenants to move into their property – people that are reliable, trustworthy, respectful, and above all, who pay the rent on time.
However, there’s always a risk that you’ll end up with a problem tenant (especially if you don’t screen them properly). At our property investment seminars, we sometimes discuss how to handle difficult renters, and how to avoid them in the first place. Here are some useful tips.
Handling Tricky Tenants
- Clearly identify the nature of the problem. It’s not enough to simply ‘not like’ your tenants; they need to have done something that contravenes the terms of the contract. This might include damage in the property or failing to pay the rent on time, for example. Make sure you gather evidence (in the form of photographs), written correspondence and kay dates, as you might require them further down the line.
- Talk to your tenants. Usually, problems can be resolved with simple communication. Arrange a time to meet and discuss the issues; this is often enough to sort the situation out. If you come to any agreement, make sure you get it down in writing, with their explicit agreement.
- Be understanding (to a point). It’s important to adopt a human approach as a landlord. Problems inevitably occur, and sometimes the tenants can’t react quickly enough to them. For example, if they accidentally damage a door, they’ll need to find the time and money to fix it again, which might not happen instantaneously. Likewise, if they fail to pay the rent on time, this may be down to problems with their bank, not them.
- Taking legal action. If the situation takes a turn for the worse, the next step may be to take legal action. There are two ways you can evict a tenant; under Section 8 (for rent payment problems or anti-social behaviour, for example) or Section 21 (no reason is required). In most cases, receiving an eviction letter through the post is enough to make the tenant behave more reasonably.
Avoiding Difficult Tenants
We always say that prevention is better than cure. There are several steps you can take to vet your prospective tenants and avoid issues further down the line; such as:
- Interviewing them personally. We always recommend meeting prospective tenants in person, or getting a letting agent to handle the interviews for you.
- Checking relevant documents. In addition to the Right to Rent checks (which you have to do by law), it’s also a wise idea to request proof of previous address, plus proof of salary, in the form of bank statements.
- Getting references. References from previous landlords are very useful – they give you a solid idea as to whether the tenant can be trusted or not.
The Buy2Let Shop
At our property investment seminars, we cover a range of topics related to becoming a landlord; with a view to supporting your investments and boosting ROI. To find out more about our range of services, visit The Buy2Let Shop website today.