While much is said about a possible landlord register being introduced in England to crack down on rogue landlords, it’s a pity that one can’t be set up to protect landlords from rogue and violent tenants.
Last month, it was revealed that one woman made a career of renting houses from unsuspecting landlords. Once the keys were handed over to her, she would quickly turn the property into bedsits, sublet them out to as many tenants as the property could accommodate, pocket the rents for herself and give zilch to the rightful landlord, racking up thousands of pounds in rent arrears.
One landlord alone was owed £36,000 in rent arrears and left with a £50,000 bill to repair the damage inflicted on his property.
On a darker note, last week saw Michal Kalinowski sentenced for the murder of his landlord after he stabbed him to avoid having to pay the £600 rent arrears he owed.
While we can all appreciate the relevance to protect tenants from the minority of rogue landlords, the only protection and safeguard a landlord has is through tenant referencing. For peace of mind, landlords should have concrete proof that a potential tenant is who they say they are. Ask for a photocopy of their passport and utility bill from their previous address. Check out the company who employs them and ensure the company exists. Ask for a guarantor and details of a stable family member and ask to see bank statements and speak to their previous landlord.
It’s always useful to ask for photocopies of payslips, so that you will know that they can afford to pay the rent. If they abscond owing rent, you will have the means to trace them through their national insurance number and have the courts place an attachment to earning order on them.
If you have any stories about any tenants from hell, we’d love to hear your experiences.