Rule Breaking 1st Oct 2016
15% of tenants admit to breaking the terms of their tenancy agreement, according to new research.
A recent study (Direct Line Landlord insurance) has found that 1 in 7 tenants have broken 1 or more of the rules outlined in their tenancy agreement. A worrying 9% also stated that they have no tenancy agreement at all. And 21% (1 in 5) stated that they have broken the terms of their agreement but the landlord hasn’t found out . . . yet!
The following rules have been broken:
Activity Percentage of tenants
Failing to pay rent on time (or at all) 25%
Smoking in the property 21%
Keeping a pet in the property 18%
Damaging or making alterations to the premises 17%
Changing the locks 16%
Causing disturbances or a nuisance to neighbouring properties 14%
Subletting a room without notifying the landlord 14%
Failing to clean accessible windows 13%
Redecorating without permission 12%
Failing to check smoke or carbon monoxide alarm 10%
The most common sanctions for tenants found to be in breach of their agreement include:
Losing all or part of their deposit 52%
Having to pay for damages 22%
Being evicted 4%
Getting money out of uncooperative tenants is extremely challenging, and if they refuse the process for chasing money can end up being more costly than the original sum sought. Deposits go some way towards reimbursing the landlord for things like missing rent or damage, however this is reliant on the dispute (if there is one) being successful.
It is essential that landlords have a watertight tenancy agreement which is served with accompanying paperwork as per legal requirements. The tenancy agreement very clearly sets out what is and is not allowed during the tenancy, and is a legally binding document. At the start of the tenancy tenants must read the full tenancy agreement, and initial the end of every page to say they have done so.
Communication is key, and landlords, or agents acting on their behalf, must maintain dialogue with tenants throughout the tenancy. Regular scheduled inspections should be carried out to ensure tenants are following the rules, and looking after the property. Best practice is to establish a trusting, working relationship with tenants as this could be crucial to the smooth running of the tenancy.
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