Dealing with Problem Tenants

Posted By Jennifer Martinez on Apr 24, 2015 |

When you are a landlord of a property, there are many potential issues and challenges you may face. One of these may be complications with tenants. While you might be lucky and have a run of wonderful tenants who take care of your property, cause you no difficulties and pay you on time, you may find that, at some point, you’ll have tenants who are the exact opposite of this. However, there are steps you can take to deal with difficult occupants.

tenancy agreementPrevent problems from the start

Prevention is better than cure and there are some measures you can take to avoid future problems with those who are renting your properties. The first is to get good references from them. Ideally, these should be from former landlords rather than from friends and family. It is also worth checking out their employment and financial history as this will give you a good indication of their reliability and whether they will keep up with their rental payments.

Another way of avoiding problems is to keep a good line of communication open with your residents’ right from the beginning. If they are having any problems, then listen to what they say and do your best to resolve the issue. This way you will build mutual respect.

Get insurance

You should always make sure you have a good level of insurance in place before you rent out your property to tenants. Opt for a policy that covers damage, lost payments and legal costs. Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense during the good times, it can save you a fortune in the long run and stop you from having to deal with high unexpected costs. There are many different policies for landlords to choose from, so weigh the costs of each and make sure you get an appropriate level of cover to meet your needs.

Be professional

If you have an issue with tenants, then keep it professional and don’t let it get personal. Craig Scott of Redstones letting agents in Gosforth sees this as a major problem particularly with amateur landlords. “By the time they come and visit me the situation may have deteriorated badly. A professional property management service means that your emotion won’t get in the way. This way you will avoid getting involved in any silly, non-constructive arguments and you will not be accused of having a personal vendetta against them.

If dealing with the situation on your own always speak in a respectful and polite manner. Staying calm can help to prevent many problems from escalating.

property nightmareKeep a record

Keep a log of any issues or problems with both the date and details of what has happened and any action taken. Similarly, if you need to put anything in writing to them, make sure you get a copy for yourself. If an issue is ongoing and unresolved, your records can be used as evidence.

Know your rights

It is important that you know what your rights are as a landlord. For example, you do not have the right to expel tenants yourself. Nor do you have the right to change the locks on your property while your tenants are still living there. It is essential that you understand the actions you are permitted to take and when you will need other professionals to handle a situation on your behalf. This is something you should seek professional advice about before you rent out your property.

It’s also important to know what your tenants’ right are – here is the latest UK Government advice

Although there may be times when you face challenges as a landlord, there are measures you can take to avoid potential problems with your tenants. If these steps fail and you do run into problems, then keeping a record, getting insurance, being cordial and seeking professional advice are steps you can take to resolve these issues.