The Upad Landlord: How to Avoid Landlord/ Tenant Problems
Some landlords find it hard to strike the right balance in their relationships with their tenants.
As a newbie landlord, I made the mistake of being too easy going with tenants initially, which meant one or two tried to take advantage of me, then I was guilty of over-reacting when the relationship turned sour.
However, over the years I've learned how to manage the situation, so here are my tips for keeping the relationship on an even keel:
1. Be friendly, but professional; your tenants are your customers so you should always treat them as such.
2. At the start of the tenancy, lay down some ground rules, such as how and when they should contact you. Make it clear that you won’t be on call 24/7, but make sure they can always contact you or a representative in an emergency.
3. Make sure you have up-to-date contact details for all of your tenants so you can reach everyone in an emergency or when you want to arrange access or viewings. If you have multiple tenants in one property, setting up a Whatsapp group is an easy way to contact them all at once.
4. Always have written contracts, this includes issuing a tenancy agreement and getting an inventory and check in report, so both you and your tenant are clear about your responsibilities and obligations. A check in report prepared by an independent third party will also make you appear more professional.
5. Be firm but fair. Don’t feel that you have to give in to all your tenants’ requests. For example, if they ask for an item of furniture and you don’t want the additional expenditure or hassle, then it’s fine to politely refuse, or say something like, “if you want a new sofa, you’re welcome to buy one and take it with you when you leave”.
6. Put everything you discuss in writing, even if it’s just in an email or a Whatsapp message, to avoid confusion later.
7. Ask for rent payments to be made by direct debit or standing order to avoid late or missed payments and having to chase them for the cash.
8. When dealing with rent arrears, act fast, but don’t over-react. Contact the tenant and ask them if there is any reason why their rent is late and when they will pay. Give them a deadline and if they miss it, consider eviction proceedings.
9. Above all, never, ever lose your temper with your tenants. They could claim harassment, so always stay calm and professional and if you can’t manage this, appoint a professional to act on your behalf.