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Top 10 tips for tackling tricky tenants

Unfortunately for landlords, bad tenants can come in all shapes and sizes, from those who can’t pay the rent on time, to those who cause neighbour disturbances and even those who are involved in criminal activity. When it comes to handling tricky tenants, prevention is better than cure, so there are a few things you can do from the start that can help your tenant/landlord relationship get off to a good start, build rapport, and avoid trouble brewing later on. Our guide will help you avoid the pitfalls of nightmare tenants and also know what to do if you are unlucky enough to get a bad one…

1. Get references

It’s important to ensure your tenant gives you adequate ID and references and that you check these to ensure they have a track record of being a good tenant. You can also try looking them up on

2. Check they are solvent

Ask any prospective tenant for the past 3 months’ bank statements so you can compare income against outgoings and reassure yourself of their ability to pay the rent.

3. Pay day

Making the date the rent is due just after the date they are paid and asking them to pay you by direct debit means they are much more likely to pay the rent on time without any issues.

4. Keep records

It’s important to have a clear tenancy agreement in place that all parties have signed and kept a copy of, to help avoid misunderstandings and disputes later on. It is also essential to have a room-by-room inventory of the condition of the property which both of you have signed, so no disputes about deposits or damages arise later.

5. Keep tabs on your property

If you visit the property regularly it will be easier to keep an eye on whether your tenants are looking after the place properly, and also develop a good relationship with them. Don’t visit too often though as this could be viewed as intrusive by your tenants, and remember to always let them know you are coming before you visit. Never let yourself in with your own key without their permission as this is illegal.

6. ASBO tenants

If any neighbour disputes arise with your tenants, it is the landlord’s responsibility to address these. If neighbours have repeatedly complained about noise disturbance, parties, littering or any other forms of anti-social behaviour, try to reach an agreement with your tenants to fix the issue. If problems persist, you are within your rights to serve notice on your tenants, but take care to ensure this is done legally. Contact Landlord Action if you need any help or advice on how to do this.

7. Don’t be a soft touch

If any problems arise such as failure to pay rent on time or not looking after the property properly, ensure you address these directly, professionally and promptly with your tenant. If you avoid the issue your tenant may view you as a soft touch and exploit this further in the future.

8. Keep your cool

If you are unlucky enough to have the tenant from hell, it’s important not to lose your temper no matter how much they might be pushing your buttons. Getting angry or making threats will give your tenant an excuse to withhold rent or accuse you of aggressive tactics, so retain your composure and stay professional at all times.

9. Protect yourself

Getting a landlord insurance policy will help to protect you if things go wrong with a tenant and should cover lost rental income, legal expenses and malicious damage etc. so make sure you have the right type of policy in place, and don’t rely on regular home insurance as this will not normally provide enough cover for a landlord’s needs.

10. Use a decent letting agent

Managing tenants can be very time consuming at the best of times, even if you have a great tenant in place, so if you are struggling to find the time to manage your property portfolio, are unsure of your obligations as a landlord, or want somebody else to take the hassle out of letting out a property, why not drop us an email or give us a call? We’d be happy to help.

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