Landlords: How to Protect Against Bad Tenants

In these modern times, where recession has bitten and made people desperate and bitter, we have a new phenomenon: The Professional Bad Tenant.

They go from property to property without paying any rent, leaving bills and council tax arrears, and they successfully do it for a living, leaving behind a trial of innocent landlords in debt.

Unfortunately, this is becoming common practice, and these professionals seem to be getting away with it. How do they do it? These professionals have become all too familiar with the legal system and know every trick in the book. Every time a landlord attempts to evict them, they appeal with various excuses for example “I didn’t pay rent because the property was in bad condition.”

The problem is, every time a tenant appeals eviction, the process of eviction is lengthened because the court needs to look into the issue before being able to dismiss it. The claims usually get dismissed because they’re fictional, but by the time each appeal goes to court, months and months pass, leaving the landlord severely out of pocket while the tenant still remains. The system definitely isn’t perfect by a long way, but it is what it is, unfortunately. Sometimes as a Landlord you almost wish it was like the good old days where you could send a couple of big lads round to shake the rent out or throw the tenant out, however that is not something that is advised or endorsed my us.

Top Tips:

1. Be wary of cash payers

2. Don’t accept the first tenant that comes along to avoid costs

3. Take into consideration your tenants employment and social status

4. Credit Checks

5. Employment records

6. Be Wary of DSS tenants

7. Get References


1. Be wary of cash payers

Tenants may offer to pay rent upfront for a large period e.g. 6 months. While it may seem appealing and an ideal situation for a landlord, it may often be an evil ploy to disguise sinister activities.

It’s not unheard of for tenants to pay cash upfront for a few reasons, for example:

  • The tenant doesn’t want to be disturbed and wants the landlord to stay away from the property because they’re harbouring illegal activity in the property e.g. growing drugs, subletting, or brothel use.
  • The tenants have AWFUL rental history, so the offering of large some of cash is a diversion

Of course, this may not always be the case, but it’s something to be wary about.

2. Don’t accept the first tenant that comes along to avoid costs

It’s true, the longer a property remains vacant, the more expensive it becomes for the landlord. Consequently, landlords are often inclined to accept the first tenant that comes along. While that may seem like the financially safe solution, it can often have the opposite affect. The fact is, finding a bad tenant quickly will cost you more than finding a good tenant slowly.

It’s important to take time over vetting your prospective tenants and making sure they’re right for both you and the property. My best tip is to be prepared and start searching a while before the current tenant moves out.

3. Take into consideration your tenants employment and social status

Stereotypes are there for a reason, take that into consideration, you have to believe that young unemployed tenants on benefits will be more problematic than middle-aged working professionals. Of course, that won’t always be the case, but it’s safer to stick with the better odds.

4. Be Wary of DSS tenants

Rightly or wrongly so, DSS Tenants are becoming more and more associated with the term “bad tenants”

DSS tenants receive Housing Benefit from the government to help with living expenses i.e. rent. A lot of DSS tenants are becoming notoriously known for pocketing their allowance, consequently failing to pass it onto their landlord.

I’m not saying every DSS tenant is guilty of this crime, because they’re not. make sure you know the complications of DSS tenants before accepting one.

5. Get References

Professional bad tenants have a track record; otherwise they wouldn’t be “professionals”. Always ask for references of previous landlords and current/previous employers. And don’t just relax contently once you have the references, actually follow them up and get feedback.

Be wary, professionals may use friends and families to provide references- make sure the references are legit.

6. Credit checks

It costs about £15, and you’ll get to find out if they’ve been blacklisted or have CCJ’s against them. There are lots of companies now, just Google it.

7. Employment records

Check the tenants’ employment records e.g. 3 months worth of payslips or reference from boss. Don’t just assume the tenant is employment because he/she says so.

6 Tenancy Agreement Myths Busted
Courtesy of Agreements and Designed by Graphs

 

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