Dealing with rent arrears is – and painful. As a landlord you’ve probably experienced rent arrears. Please see our guide to manage it before it gets too far.
Make sure to protect your credit rating and act fast
Take immediate action without getting into a panic, loss of rent may not allow you to pay your mortgage, carry out maintenance works and carry on living the life standards you are used to.
Pick up the phone and call your tenant before sending emails
Rent arrears can put a strain on a tenant/landlord relationship, if the rent is not paid on time, call the tenants and inform them, find out why, they may not be aware that the payment was not made, they may have forgotten and got the date wrong. Speak with them before acting further.
If the tenant is having difficulties making the rent, meet them in person and discuss the issue. Everything you discussed in the meeting, put it on an email to confirm what was said. When you are on the phone to the tenant you can tell if the tenant is telling the truth and sincere though body language or the way they articulate themselves.
Accept less than 100% rent, it is better than nothing
Discuss the solutions with the tenant, do they have financial issues, can they currently pay part of the rent, come to an agreement, arrange a payment plan. Accept whatever the amount they can currently pay.
As a landlord you can offer the subletting option or the option to end the tenancy earlier. If your tenant has a guarantor, contact them ask them to pay on behalf of the tenant. A landlord cannot end a tenancy early due to rent arrears without applying for a possession order in the County Courts in England and Wales or an eviction order in the Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland – but it may be an attractive option to them.
Do not agree to their using the deposit to pay outstanding rent. The deposit must never be considered until the tenancy has come to an end. Try to resolve the issue between yourselves without destroying your relationships.
Make sure to check their references thoroughly before you take them on
The most effective way to avoid rent arrears is to ensure all of the correct checks are carried out up front. Check tenants’ references thoroughly and ensure they provide guarantors if needed.
You may also want to consider taking out a rent-guarantee policy. Never let a tenant move in before they have paid at least one month’s rent and a deposit.
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