The Real Estate Encyclopedia
How to avoid bad tenants
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Itís every landlordís nightmare. Irresponsible tenants who leave your property in a mess, donít pay the rent on time or who are just plain crazy and burn your home down...

Ok, the last oneís a bit of an exaggeration. But you never know: if you donít ensure you vet your tenants properly the worst case scenario is always a possibility. Here are a few tips to make sure you can avoid any problems...

Choose your tenants with caution

It may sound obvious, but itís vital you screen your tenants before you hand over your precious property. You could always ask a letting agency Ė preferably one registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents Ė who will be able to help you by checking the credit ratings, employment status and acquiring references of prospective tenants.


A proper inventory of the condition and contents of your buy to let property before the tenancy begins is very important Ė make sure you pay an independent body to do this so you canít be accused of having vested interest. Remember, later youíll need to rely on this in light of a dispute.

Know your rights

Ok, so even though youíve screened your tenant, youíve still let your flat to a messy, unreliable tenant. Itís key to know your rights as a landlord if you want to stay in control of the situation. If youíve a written tenancy agreement in place, this sets out when the rent is due. Also, encouraging standing orders can be a good idea, as these can show evidence as to what payments youíve received. If the worse comes to the worse you can serve an eviction notice Ė but you have to strictly follow a process Ė details of which are below. You can also attempt to reclaim any unpaid rent as well.


If you decide to evict, remember the tenancy agreement specifies a notice period you have to give to your tenants to vacate the property. If the tenants remain in the property you can apply to the courts for a possession order Ė if the tenants donít comply you can apply for an eviction warrant from the county court. The county court will then send in the bailiffs. Whatever you do, donít try to throw your tenants out illegally Ė this can result in legal action against you.

Gaining access to your property

It is actually illegal for landlords to enter their properties without agreement from tenants. Landlords have rights to Ďreasonableí access but they have to warn the tenants by at least 24 hours and it has to be to carry out repairs or something essential.

Raising rental payments

You can actually put up the rent but you usually have to wait for a fixed term to end. Ultimately, it depends on the terms of the tenancy. You canít just charge what you want, the rent has to be reasonable and comparable to similar properties or the tenant can complain.

We hope these tips help you a bit when it comes to renting out your property and finding the right tenant Ė it helps to know the rules!

Thanks to Eden Harper, an estate agent in Brixton for this guest post.

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