how to deal with tricky tenants
An online letting agent has released a list of some vital tips for landlords, from dealing with disagreements to rent arrears and eviction.
UK landlords often get a bad rap in the media, but it isn’t a secret that they also have to deal with their fair share of issues. Renting out property can be extremely lucrative and rewarding, but over the years most landlords will have to deal with issues with tenants at some point.
There are plenty of tips for landlords out there, and Adam Male, Mashroom‘s chief revenue officer, has honed in on some of the biggest hurdles that those renting out properties might face – and how to handle them.
The good versus the bad
As Male points out, most landlords have an idea of how they want their property rental journey to go, and what they want to avoid.
In the list of positives, he highlights paying rent on time, taking care of the property and being easy to work with as some of the top tenant traits. Many landlords will be lucky enough to achieve all three of these outcomes with some of their tenants.
“However, sometimes relationships do break down,” he says. “Even with the best of intentions, things don’t always go to plan.”
Rent arrears is the top cause for complaint, as it directly affects the property owner’s bottom line. The problems arise, says Male, when the landlord is worried about covering their expenses and the tenant is worried about their lack of income and keeping their home.
Damage can be another contentious issue, as there can be disagreements over what constitutes wear and tear. Rent increases may also cause issues, and it is something both tenants and landlords are highly likely to face at some stage.
Eviction, of course, is another challenge landlords will have to overcome at some point. It could be the case that the landlord wants the property back to sell, turn into a holiday let, or even move back into, but it can be a difficult conversation to have with the tenant.
Certain tenant types may present more issues than others; for example, students could be more likely to cause damage to a property.
Tips for landlords on common issues
Rent arrears: Male’s top tips for landlords whose tenants are behind on their payments include remaining calm to prevent things ‘blowing up’, and talking to the tenants to try and come up with a solution.
“Work together to figure out a way forward that benefits both parties. It may be that your tenant decides they should move out because they can no longer afford the rent. It may be that they are simply between jobs and can pay you back the missed rent when they have a new one.”
Damage: Male recommends ensuring you have a thorough, professional inventory done before renting a property out as well as after, so that a third party can advise on any damage. He believes that being “polite” to tenants about damage and solutions is also a good idea.
“If the damage happens during the tenancy and your tenant wants you to get something fixed that they clearly broke, that can be incredibly frustrating. Once the issue is resolved, let it go.”
Eviction: This is an issue that is difficult for all concerned, and one of Male’s biggest tips for landlords is to consider whether eviction is definitely the best option and looking at alternatives.
“For example, if the issue isn’t with the tenant, but you wish to sell up, could you sell the property with the tenant in situ? Perhaps they’re looking to buy, so they might be interested in purchasing the property?”
He also says it’s important to follow the law closely and keep everything above board, so landlords should ensure they follow the correct procedure from the beginning. Those with rent guarantee insurance can sometimes access legal advice, too.
Rent increases: Something else that growing numbers of people are going to have to deal with in the private rented sector. Among his key tips for landlords, Male advises ensuring your rent rise is fair and reasonable, as well as letting tenants know well in advance.
He says landlords could also be open to offers, which could be worth considering. “If you have great, reliable tenants who take good care of your property, a lower offer might be worth it, when weighed against the risk of the unknown future tenant.”