Landlords: How to Avoid and Handle Tenant Disputes

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Whether you are considering becoming a landlord or you already let property, one thing that will never be far from your mind is potential tenant troubles. Being a landlord presents a range of challenges, both on the business side and with the management of the tenancy.

From minor issues such as the tenant not keeping the property clean and tidy to major issues such as property damage and unpaid rent, there are many potential headaches that await you as a landlord. Getting things right from the start of the tenancy can make your life a lot easier and your business more successful. Here is the process that we recommend you follow to avoid any potential tenant issues and how to deal with them if they arrive:

1. Be clear at the outset

Make it clear who is responsible for what. Landlords will always be responsible for the maintenance of the property and the tenant for paying the rent and looking after the property day to day, however there are other things that need your consideration. For example, are pets allowed? Who is responsible for the upkeep of the garden and any common areas? Make it clear to the tenant where their responsibilities lie and what you intend to do for them. To make management easier and protect the property you may wish to cover the cost of tasks like regular gardening and cleaning of the gutters and build this into the price of the rent.

2. Carry out checks

Conduct credit assessments of the tenants and evaluate their circumstances to make sure they have the ability to pay the rent for the duration of the tenancy. If possible also ask for references from their previous landlords and their employer. This should weed out the majority of potentially problematic tenants.

3. Speak to a solicitor to draw up a proper tenancy agreement

DRN we can draft bespoke tenancy agreements for you and offer any expert legal advice that you require during the course of the tenancy. Protect yourself from the outset and get the legalities in place without leaving yourself open to any potential legal jeopardy.

4. Consider hiring a managing agent

If you are new to being a landlord, live out of town or simply don’t have the time to manage the tenancy hands on, then it may be worth paying an agent to ensure the tenancy runs smoothly. An agent can ensure rent is paid on time, manage any maintenance required, carry out checks on the property on your behalf and make sure the tenant remains happy too.

5. If you aren’t happy with something address it quickly

Don’t let problems settle, write to the tenant outlining your concerns and what they need to do to remedy the problem.

6. Hire legal help

If problems persist you may need legal assistance to resolve the problem, this is crucial to make sure that you act within the law and in line with your tenancy agreement. We can assist with collecting unpaid rent, terminating the tenancy, evictions, handling breaches of the tenancy agreement and possession proceedings.

The legal side of dealing with problem tenants can be a minefield, it is vital that you get expert advice to avoid putting yourself at risk of legal action. Tenants have a common set of rights and you need to make sure that these are not violated. Having the support of a legal expert is also likely to be a great investment as it increases the likelihood of a successful outcome and getting your property back on the market quickly.

Should you need any assistance with tenant disputes please contact our landlord and tenant department, led by director Matthew Finley, on 01282 433 241.