Problem tenants are a landlord’s worst nightmare. They are not paying the rent, the property could be in a bad condition and you need to get them out. They can easily make you have sleepless nights.
A landlord will go through some sort of worry when renting their property. Let’s be honest with this subject. Renting a property to people you do not know can be a little bit like playing ‘Russian roulette’. You could have previously rented to five different sets of tenants and had no issues whatsoever over the years, but it only takes one to cause you difficulty and hassle.
When renting a property as a landlord your requirements are simple; get the property let as quickly as possible, obtaining the right quality of tenant and the right price achieved. Seems simple enough!
You check them out – get references and credit checks obtained, IDs, Bank Statements and check their affordability with their work situation too and they are a perfect fit. They seem like nice people too and your property is in safe hands. The first few months are fine with only the odd callout and repair to make, plus the tenants are paying every month with no arrears – excellent, just how it should be!
Then it starts! You check the bank balance and the rent hasn’t been paid. So you call the tenants and they explain that the money will be in your account over the next few days. But still no sign of payment. Before you know it the tenants have missed a months payment and then have to pay you double the next month, it basically becomes a downward spiral from there.
So what do you do? It is a delicate situation.
Your main concern is either to get your rent or to evict your tenants.
So here are a few tips should this happen to you.
Record your payments
Once a tenant doesn’t pay their rent, it becomes a legal matter, so put your mind into action accordingly and record all of your payments due. Keep records of payments due and when they are due to be paid. Everyone who is on the tenancy agreement is legally responsible to pay the landlord. But a record of payments due is important should you require possession of the property through the courts, they would want to see a record of payments under the court rules.
Everything in Writing
I cannot stress this enough to anybody in all walks of life, get things in writing – if anything becomes a legal matter and you cannot back things up in writing, then it is your word against somebody else’s.
After 7 Days – Give your tenant a formal notice of rent demand when your tenant is 7 days in arrears. Send this first class or even better “signed for.”
After 14 days – if your tenant(s) still haven’t paid, send them another letter.
After 21 days – inform your tenant(s) that you will be pursuing legal action should the rent not be paid.
Remember, the courts want to see that you have gone beyond your means to try to obtain your rent, if you do this then there is no confusion and that you have exhausted all possibilities to obtain the rent.
Make it clear in your letter to the tenant that you may be making an application to the courts to require possession of the property should there be two months rent unpaid.
If after 21 days your still have received your rent – then sent one more letter. This is your final attempt to reclaim your owed rent. If your tenant has gone one whole month without paying rent and now your 2nd months rent is due, then legally they are two months in arrears.
Now you have the legal right under “The Housing Act 1988” to take some action and claim possession of your property.
You can issue your tenants with a “Section 8 Notice” which will inform your tenants that if they do not pay their rent within 14 days you will be taking them to court.
Alternatively, you can serve a Section 21 notice to reclaim possession of your property, but this will not be on the grounds of unpaid rent. Again you can also serve them with both the “Section 21 and the Section 8” Notices.
Please Note: We are not a legal department therefore do not partake in offering anybody legal advice, we advise that you get your own solicitor with this matter, but we are knowledgeable as property is our field and can point you in the right direction for this legal advice.
Alternatively, you can read up yourself the differences between what notice is right for you to serve.