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Advice on dealing with difficult tenants.

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Majority of Landlords are familiar with the referencing system and understand that, that sometimes even the most robust referencing system doesn’t shine you away from problematic tenants and difficult property situations.

If your tenants are running up arrears and damaging your property here are some solutions in attempt to fix and solve your tenancy issues.

  • Keep everything in writing

  • Good Communication

  • Use the tenancy agreement to clarify obligations

  • Begin the eviction process

Keep everything in writing and in a safe place This may seem like a pretty obvious thing to state; however, this is easily forgotten and important documents are commonly misplaced when landlords are bulked down with other things. You should always have a paper document, with any record of communication with your tenant, especially when you’re attempting to resolve any ongoing issues.

If there is any occasion you cannot do this for example you are on a phone call and there is no way you can prove you had this conversation, it is a good idea to send a follow up email afterwards summarising the key points of your discussion. This can include anything you and your tenant may have confirmed during your call.

Another key thing to do is to ensure all your documents are kept in a safe place that you remember as the last thing you want to do is misplace or lose any important documents that clarify the agreements you and your tenants have made with another.

Communication is key

It sounds ridiculous especially when it comes to property management and being adults, but most tenancy disputes usually boil down to poor communication. The first time you address a problem with your tenants be reasonable until you have spoken directly about the issue at hand, especially if you are following up a report from a neighbour or other intermediary.

Use the tenancy agreement to clarify obligations

Referring back to your tenancy agreement is an effective way to remind your tenant of their legal obligation. By using the tenancy agreement as a point of reference, it demonstrates that your annoyance and complaints are based on reasonable concerns regarding violations of your legal contract.

If you and your tenant are having a heated discussion, using the tenancy agreement will also help you reset the tone of your conversation. It is helpful and rational way to retain a a positive discussion with your tenant about a sensitive and meaningful topic. As well as this but it enables you to ensure an objective and your liability.

Begin the eviction process If you have attempted to resolve your tenancy issues multiples times and failed, and they decide to continue to violate their terms of your agreement starting the eviction process is another option you make consider taking.

The eviction process can be immensely stressful, time consuming and difficult for each partner involved. There are types of notices landlords can serve to regain possession of their property. However, this depends on whether or not the fixed term of the tenancy has ended:

  • Section 21: If the fixed term has ended, the landlord can serve a Section 21 notice. This is called a ‘no fault’ eviction, these allow you to regain possession at the end of the fixed term without having to establish any wrongdoing on the part of the tenant. However, this has changed slightly, as of October 2021, as rules extending periods of notice during COVID19 expire, the notice period required for Section 21 will return to two months.

  • Section 8: If your tenants have broken terms of the tenancy agreement and you need to regain possession before the end of the tenancy, you can issue a Section 8 notice seeking a grounds-based eviction. You will need to specify which terms have been broken and use the correct statutory grounds to explain why your property should be returned to your possession. You will need to ensure that you have served the correct forms and then provide evidence validating your grounds for possession in a court hearing.

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