Letting property can be an excellent investment in any market, provided the property is chosen carefully. Done well, you have an appreciating asset you can cash in on at some point in the future and in the meantime you have a steady stream of income. It is no wonder that buying to let has been so popular in the past. Most tenants will give you few problems but, sadly, whether you are a large letting agent or private landlord, there are always exceptions. There’s a plethora of information out there from a number of sources, that goes into how to avoid problems when taking on clients.
When you think about problem tenants, you most probably consider those who simply don’t pay the rent but there are many different types of issues. Not paying the rent is certainly an obvious and common one. This will bring immediate financial problems but at least the problem is straightforward to establish, they either pay or they don’t. Tenants who always or regularly pay late represent a slightly more subtle problem. Being constantly or often late with rent is grounds for asking for a court order requesting the tenant to leave, but what constitutes ‘regularly’ late is for the court to decide.
Other types of problem tenant are those who allow or cause the condition of your property to deteriorate but again this can be open to some debate. Breaking the terms of the lease by, for example, sub-letting may also be difficult to prove. Similarly, behaving in an anti-social way or causing a nuisance might seem obvious, but it may also require some evidence gathering which can be time consuming and expensive.
All of the above types of problem tenant do give grounds to evict but clearly some are going to be easier to prove than others. In some cases it may just be a matter of asking them to leave. If they agree, make sure you have them sign an official early termination of lease in case they change their minds. Otherwise you are going to have to start an official process and make sure your paperwork is in order.
If your tenant is on an assured shorthold tenancy, eviction should be straightforward as long as the tenancy is beyond the first six months. Here you simply issue a Section 21 notice and give two months notice to leave. You should remember that Section 21 notices can only be issued if you are using a tenancy deposit scheme. To evict during a fixed term assured tenancy you have to apply to the court with grounds, such as arrears, late payments, damage or nuisance as described above.
If you are also seeking financial compensation for losses, such as rent arrears or damage, you should serve a Section 8 notice, known as a fault based process. This can be used where a fixed term tenancy has a long period to run and has the advantage of granting both a possession order and money order for compensation. A representative from www.landlordslawyer.co.uk stated that “Remember that this process can be longer and more complicated and the judge has the power to reject your claim and allow the tenant to remain in the property”
Whether it’s squatters, noisy late night parties, late paying tenants or general nuisance, there’s a path of least resistance to jettison and get rid of your tenants for good.