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One in Seven Tenants Breach Tenancy Rules

As a landlord of a property, it is in your interest to attract the best possible tenant. But an occupant who looks good on paper and makes all the right noises, may still end up being a rule breaker. New research from Direct Line Landlord Insurance reveals one in seven renters have broken the rules outlined in their tenancy agreements, and 11% of renters surveyed couldn’t commit to an answer as they simply didn’t know if they had broken any rules or not.

Failing to pay rent on time, smoking within the property and having a pet were among the top three rules most commonly broken by tenants and more than 21% of those surveyed said their landlord never found out about their misdemeanours.

Activity Percentage of tenants
Failing to pay rent on time (or at all) 25%
Smoking in the property 21%
Keeping a pet in the property 18%
Damaging or making alterations to the premises 17%
Changing the locks 16%
Caused disturbances or a nuisance to neighbouring properties 14%
Sublet a room without notifying the landlord 14%
Failed to clean accessible windows 13%
Redecorated without permission 12%
Failed to check smoke or carbon monoxide alarm 10%

 

Building a trusting relationship between a landlord and their tenant can be crucial to the smooth running of a rented property and it is of the upmost importance for landlords to keep in touch with their tenant on a regular basis. Don’t forget, as a landlord, you have the right to regular inspections. And so, should anything arise that may be in breach of their rental agreement, you can deal with it promptly before it gets out of hand. No doubt you will remain hopeful that Sandra from number 22 will ask for permission before finding herself a friendly feline to keep her company but, all you may be left with is a bill for new carpets and curtains once kitty gets her claws in.Source: Direct Line for Business

The importance of having a tightly drawn lease agreement, stipulating the tenant’s obligations, is paramount. Tenants who break the rules within their contracts may face anything from the loss of their deposit through to eviction, all the while protecting your interest within the property. Evicting a poor paying tenant may seem like the best option to return your property to an income producing asset, however by doing so you may be waving goodbye to any outstanding debt from rent arrears. Equally, if the dispute is related to unauthorised works or damages you may be leaving yourself at additional loss by evicting the tenant and stumping up the cost for the repairs yourself if the tenancy deposit doesn’t cover the full cost of works.

At SLC Solicitors, we have experts on hand with unrivalled experience in taking action against any tenants in breach of their lease agreement. We can advise on the best course of action relating to your specific situation, whether this is an act of nuisance or when the lessee does something within the property that is prohibited under the tenancy agreement. We would start with an AST review, and from this determine the best course of action for you. In many cases we are able to recover all costs from the tenant, allowing us to work without cost to the Landlord.

Very sensibly, Direct Line make five clear recommendations to avoid your tenant becoming a ‘rule breaker’ at your expense:

  • Be clear from the outset: Ensure that your adverts clearly state any rules that you feel strongly about – for example looking for non-smoking or pet-free tenants only.
  • Have it agreed in writing: It is imperative to have a written tenancy agreement for your tenants. Not only will they be legally required to pay rent, but it will also clearly outline what is and what isn’t allowed in the property. It’s a good idea to go through all of the clauses and penalties with the tenants before they sign the agreement to ensure that they are clear on the rules of the tenancy.
  • Maintain dialogue with your tenants: You are within your rights to make scheduled visits to your property to ensure it is being maintained to a level that was agreed in the contract. This will also ensure that tenants look after your property, and dissuade them from breaking the rules too much.
  • Don’t go overboard: Try not to make too many rules. Keep it simple. Establish a trusting, positive relationship with the tenant as they’ll be even more likely to stick to the rules.
  • Accept that you may need to be flexible: If you have good tenants in your property for a length of time who make a request to get a pet, you may want to consider a compromise. Keeping the value of your property is one thing, but this may be offset by the time and cost of finding new tenants if it becomes a deal breaker.

Nick Breton, Head of Direct Line for Business said “The relationship a tenant has with their landlord can be crucial in the smooth running of a rented property. It is therefore of utmost importance for tenants to keep in touch with their landlords should anything arise that may be in breach of their rental agreement “ and “Landlords should ensure they have a watertight legal contract in place to fall back on should anything happen to their property” We couldn’t agree more.

Should all your efforts come to naught and your tenant becomes one of those not so magnificent one-in-seven, Jeremy Weaver, Solicitor at SLC and Joint Head of Litigation is available to answer any queries you have regarding your rule breaking tenant.  Call him on 0333 0300 200 today.

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