Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Is your Tenant Mad, Sad or Bad?

This is Part Two of a series of three Blogs where we look at dealing with Tenants and Tenancies that have perhaps turned sour. In Part 1 we looked at avoiding problems. In this Blog we look at practical solutions when problems present themselves.

You have picked a lovely tenant and all is going well, then suddenly there is a problem. What then? In these circumstances tenants usually fall into three categories. They are either mad, sad or bad. How they are depends on the solution.


The Mad Tenant


This is the tenant that is unhappy or even angry. They see a fault, and they perceive the problem lays either in the property and critically a failure by you Mr/Mrs Landlord to address it.

You can stand on your high horse, huff and puff and do nothing or you can be pro-active. Sort the problem out! Spell out what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. Most people (tenants included) are reasonable decent people. Don't let a small thing fester for a few quid. It will always develop. A small gesture – bottle of wine, pizza vouchers can go a long way to getting things back on an even keel.

We all have our own moral codes that determine whether we believe we being reasonable or not. You might think that you are being reasonable but you may not be. Share your dilemma with the most reasonable person you know. Talk to an agent about your issues, try and be objective with the facts. Most good agents will give some time up to talk you through how they might resolve something.

The Sad Tenant



Tenants and tenancies do not usually start off with things going wrong. The most common trigger for this is some sort of personal or family trauma. Losing a job, a failed marriage, an illness or bereavement are all part of life. Your tenant will be affected by it and either the care of a property or failure to pay the rent maybe symptom of the trauma.

Get to know your tenant. Check on them with a quick phone call once a month. Formally inspect the property within the first six weeks and every three to four months after this. I'm not suggesting be best buddies but be communicative, show them a human side, show them that you care and you may find that this is reciprocated in a time of stress and trauma. If they can’t pay and you value the tenant, then agree a payment plan. If the tenant is not looking after the property because they are spending hours at the hospital? Knock £50 off a month and use this for the occasional cleaner or gardener. I'm not suggesting for one minute you lose all senses and forget you are in it to make money.  Make a benevolent gesture sure, but make a decision because it is prudent to do so. Don't lose sight that your tenant is part of your investment because he/ she is in your property.

Bad tenant: Is your Tenant one of these? …….

A tenant that is a ‘rotten apple’ is the most difficult kind. You have tried to resolve a problem. You have worked with the tenant, perhaps shown empathy in the face of their personal adversity and they throw it back in your face. What do you do then?

 Don't lose your head but prepare for the worst as soon as possible. Even the most experienced landlord or agent will have experienced a bad tenant. You need to be on the front foot rather than let the problem take control.

 This approach depends on circumstance. There isn't a one size fits all solution. There is the practical and there is the legal. Be honest with yourself. If you don't feel confident here call in the professionals. A day or a week spent without direction is a day or week where you are no further to ‘lancing the boil’.

The PRACTICAL solution

1. If the tenants are in financial difficulty offer to release them from the contract early. Negotiate with them regarding their deposit and cut your losses. What's the point of trying to pursue people with no assets anyway?

2. You won't see this in the books and it can backfire but you could pay them off to leave your property. You could verbally offer them something and see their reaction. You could make them a without prejudice offer.  Make sure that you get them to put it in writing that they intend to give up the tenancy.

3. Offer to go to a mediator. Shelter or Citizens Advice may help here.

Alternatively  please contact us at  Rainbow Property

Next Week: Paul Beevers Director of Rainbow Property and Landlord and Tenant Solicitor will go through some legal options if your tenancy has gone badly wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment