How to protect yourself from bad tenants

When all goes well, a buy-to-let property can make a great investment. While you need to maintain the property well, you can earn a decent return. But what happens when things don’t go to plan? How do you handle bad tenants?

How to deal with rent arrears

What to do when tenants fail to pay rent

The main problem landlords face is tenants failing to pay the rent – either on time or at all. While the number of tenants in arrears is falling, there are still 67,000 tenants who are more than two months behind on their rent. How to choose the best tenants

He explains: “You can’t go round to the property and make any threats but you should ring the tenant the day after you haven’t received your money on the due date set out in the contract.

After speaking with them, put your conversation on an email, using the ‘delivery and read receipt’ button to prove they received your message. If they don’t respond, then advise the tenant in writing you will be visiting the property to meet and discuss the problem. How to attract the best tenants

Bear in mind, just because you haven’t received your rent, doesn’t mean it is the tenant’s fault. There may be a problem at the bank, they may not have received their salary on time, there may have been a change in their personal circumstances, make sure you speak to the tenant first before taking any official action.

There is always something that can be done, if a tenant causes problems for the neighbours, you’re actually legally obliged to take steps to solve the problem and, if necessary, to evict the tenant. How to choose the best tenants

Evicting a tenant

If legal action is required, do take decent legal advice if you have no previous experience of evicting a tenant; getting the procedure even slightly wrong could cost you a fortune.

There are two ways of evicting a tenant. You can issue either a Section 8, or a Section 21. A Section 8 is typically used when a tenant is in rent arrears, especially if your tenant has only been in the property for a few months. Other reasons might include being a nuisance to neighbours. how to buy a property to develop it and let it out

A Section 21 is normally employed to guarantee that you can secure the property when you are letting under an assured shorthold tenancy; the difference from a Section 8 is that you are under no obligation to give a reason for requiring the property back. Find out more about Section 21 and section 8 notices

Sometimes just writing a letter to the tenant including a Section 8 or 21 Notice and advising them that action will be taken is often sufficient to encourage the tenant to leave the property.

You must ensure you have protected the deposit right from beginning of the tenancy. If you have not both protected the deposit by registering it through the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and also provided, in writing, the correct information about it at time of tenancy renewal, then the judge may refuse your eviction notice. How can you keep your tenants happy

How to stop things escalating with your tenant

Prevention is always the best option. Keep an eye on the property by visiting every three months

By visiting regularly, you’ll also build a relationship with your tenant and it might provide you with advanced warning of any potential problems that could turn into major issues if left unchecked. How to ensure your property is safe

If you want to avoid bad tenants then learn to pick the best ones.
1. Check expenditure versus income via three months of bank statements.
2. Watch out for forged references, passports, or driving licenses.
3. Make sure work references are valid – contact the employer switchboard rather than ringing a direct dial to make sure you’re speaking to the person you think you are.
4. Research a tenant’s rental history through sites such as
5. Closely match tenant payday with the rent due date.

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