Problem tenants

Introduction

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Stay a landlord for long enough, and the chances are that at some point you will come up against some problem tenants. In general, the law has been moderated to give a greater level of protection to landlords against problem tenants.

Tenants are now required by law to:

  • Pay their rent promptly.
  • Take care of the property.
  • Avoid causing a nuisance to the neighbours.
  • Agree not to use the property for illegal or immoral purposes.
  • Obey all conditions of the tenancy agreement.

If they do not meet their obligations, they can be evicted. However, the fact remains that problems tenants have the capability to cause landlord's a large amount of stress, financial cost, and inconvenience.

Basic precautions that should be taken against bad tenants include the withholding of a deposit and the inclusion of conditions within the tenancy agreement to end the lease on 'bad tenant' grounds. Always ensure that the tenancy agreement is clear about what will happen if the tenant does not keep their side of the bargain.

You cannot prevent a bad tenant from being the way they are. However, you should take the following steps to minimise the risks of a tenant turning into a problem:

  • Vet the tenants properly.
  • Take a deposit.
  • Include the appropriate clauses in the tenancy agreement relating to the courses of action that will be taken if a tenant does not meet his or her obligations.
  • Meet your own obligations as a landlord.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.

Leaving reminder
Another thing you can do to give your tenants the best chance of getting their bond back, and to give the property the best chance of being left in a state that requires minimal attention before it can be let again, is send the tenants a reminder note before they move out.

This is a great opportunity for you to make sure that they are well aware of all their responsibilities and exactly what needs to be done by them in order to get their bond back.

Should reflect what is mentioned in the tenancy agreement (which is not normally paid much attention by the tenants). Avoids the possibility of disputes with regard to the condition of the property and how much cleaning they should do.

The list should remind tenants:

  • Of all the items and areas which should be cleaned.
  • To read meters.
  • Inform utilities providers of the last date of the tenancy.
  • Remove all belongings.
  • Defrost the freezer.
  • Clean the carpets.
  • Perform any other tasks that are stipulated in the tenancy agreement.
  • What will happen if the duties are not carried out, such as charging the tenant for professional cleaning services, window cleaning or redecoration.
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