Landlords are facing rising numbers of ‘tenants from hell’, according to Balgores Property Group, leading independent estate and lettings agency group in Essex.
There is a plague of bad tenants who are causing unprecedented problems. Howard Lester, Director of Balgores Property Group comments: “We have seen a rise in the number of landlords contacting us to manage their properties, after experiencing difficult tenants.
Recently, a landlord came to us for some help, after his tenants had stopped paying the rent after nine months and prevented any access to the property. It was not until bailiffs broke the locks after a court possession order, that it was discovered that the property had been completely stripped bare. The tenants had taken the central heating, light fittings, carpets, a shower cubicle, curtain and blinds, plus the all of the landlord’s furniture.
“While this is an extreme case, there has been a rise in the number of bad tenants. This is even more of a reason why landlords have to be careful to take all the necessary steps to protect their property.
“Landlords can take suitable measures to insure this does not happen to them. The most important thing to prevent damage is finding the right tenant. Of course you can only obtain certain amount of reference, but these won’t paint you the full picture of the tenant. However, if you can get a positive landlord or previous agent’s reference, this has been proven to reduce issues during tenancies.
“The next step is to maintain a consistent level of property inspections. If you can build a good relationship with your tenant and inspect the property on a quarterly basis, this will deter tenants from causing damage. Whilst inspecting properties, it is important that you make reports and take photos. Too many agents and landlords will only scribble notes on a small piece of paper, never giving you a full picture of the condition on a quarterly basis.
“Finally the best step is to have a fully detailed Inventory of the property. Many landlords believe if a property is unfurnished an inventory is not needed. On a standard two bedroom apartment which is unfurnished, the inventory consists of 50-55 pages. The detail shown on a professional inventory is everything from light fittings and light switches, to the insides of cupboards and draws. This is the best way to ensure you get money from the tenants deposit to cover any damage they might have caused. With an inventory, you are 51% more likely to obtain the full amount you are claiming for.
“Having a good managing agent is key to a successful tenancy. At Balgores Property Group, we supply all of the above to help prevent any damage to our landlords’ properties.”
Balgores Property Group has put together top tips to consider when renting...
1. Make sure you use a reputable letting agent, preferably one that is ARLA registered.
2. Have an ongoing dialogue with your Agent; you need to feel you can trust them.
3. Be sure that the agent gets proof of ID & address for all tenants as well as credit checks.
4. If necessary ask for a guarantor & make sure they are checked as thoroughly as the Tenants.
5. Check the references yourself; ask questions if you are not sure of anything.
6. If the agent can’t answer any of the questions you have do not accept the tenants.
7. Don’t be swayed by tenant sob stories, they may be genuine, but you don’t need to take the chance. If they can’t provide good references do not proceed.
8. Consider carefully which service you chose with your agent. Most reputable agents will offer three services; Let Only, Rent Processing & Fully Managed. The less experienced you are as a landlord the more we would recommend using the Rent processing or fully managed service.
9. Be sure to have a professionally prepared inventory for the property, regardless of the amount of furniture you will be leaving. The more meticulous the inventory, the more careful tenants are likely to be whilst living there. Remember an inventory is a schedule of condition, not just a list of contents.
10. Most importantly, ensure that you take a rental & legal expenses warranty – If it still goes wrong despite all of the above precautions you want to make sure you are financially
For further information, please visit www.balgoresproperty.co.uk
Balgores Property Group has six offices in Basildon, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Hornchurch, Romford and Upminster
Balgores Property Group is an independent, family-owned business
Balgores Property Group specialises in property sales, lettings, mortgages and financial services©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies to England and is not a definitive statement of the law, always seek professional advice. If you have questions on these issues go to the LandlordZONE® Forums