UK landlords are considered to be service providers, offering their rental property assets as suitable homes for people looking to rent property in the private sector.
However, there are times when being a landlord can appear to have a few drawbacks, so we would like to offer landlords a little advice on dealing with some of the more common complaints that UK landlords have to deal with…
Two recent national surveys have revealed that 12% of all UK private rented sector (PRS) rents are either late or are not paid at all and that in excess of 200,000 PRS tenants are in severe rental arrears of more than 8 weeks.
In order for UK PRS landlords to avoid becoming a part of the growing UK rental arrears statistics, it is essential that all UK landlords or their appointed lettings agents should conduct comprehensive tenant referencing for all applicants before offering them an assured short-hold tenancy.
However, even comprehensive tenant referencing cannot prevent a tenant’s employment or financial circumstances from changing, and if the tenant does get into rent arrears and gentle encouragement fails to get them to pay up then it may be time to start eviction proceedings in one of two ways, either an accelerated possession procedure or the more traditional ‘fixed date’ court hearing process. For more eviction information please see here.
The Importance of Inventories
When tenants leave a property in a mess when they move out, or if the property is completely trashed maliciously, there remains very little a landlord can do to chase the tenant for compensation.
To prevent this financially and emotionally costly scenario, landlords should have a comprehensive inventory drawn up and agreed when the tenant moves in, backed by at least one month’s rent as a deposit held in one of the five Government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes.
Dealing with Neighbour Disputes
Tenants often expect landlords to solve every problem associated with the rental property, even things beyond the landlord’s control, including noisy neighbours.
Landlords should attempt to stay detached from the problems and should try not to get involved. Landlords can offer advice on practical solutions, which can include suggesting that the tenant tries talking to their neighbours informally; or the tenants could try contacting their neighbour’s landlord, if they are tenants too. For more serious disputes the tenants can complain to the local council use or an officially-approved local mediator to sort matters out; and the very last resort that the tenant can try is taking their nuisance neighbours to court.
A fairly standard clause in UK Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements for rental properties that have gardens is that the upkeep of the rental property’s garden is the responsibility of the tenant and not the landlord. However, it may appear that there are very few tenants who actively do any gardening. Landlords can attempt to encourage tenants to keep the garden tidy by providing their tenants with all the gardening tools they may need to maintain the garden or landlords could consider adding the cost of a local gardener to the monthly rental price. Responsible tenants are likely to accept a small additional expense in return for a pretty garden and them not having to do any physical work.
Tenant’s Unpaid Bills
When outgoing tenants haven’t paid their utility bills, landlords are required by law to register a tenant’s deposit with one of the five officially sanctioned Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes within 30 days of the start of the tenancy. Should a tenant not pay their utility bills before moving out, the landlord is entitled to deduct the appropriate amount from the original deposit, once it has been proved that money is owed by the outgoing tenant.