Buy to let landlords are not doing enough to protect themselves from bad tenants, claims a leading insurance firm.
Almost two-thirds of tenants confessed to breaking their rental agreements, according to research by Axa.
The study revealed many tenants have scant disregard for the legal terms of their tenancy agreements:
- A quarter pay rent late – adding up to around 2.1 million tenants across the country
- 10% have left their rented homes to avoid paying landlords rent or for damage to the property
- 18% keep pets without permission
- 15% admit to antisocial behaviour – especially causing noise nuisance for neighbours
- 8% sub-let without the knowledge of their landlords
Another 8% said they committed a crime in a rented home – mostly relating to misusing or growing drugs.
And 10% had the police call without telling their landlords.
Axa claims these problems arise because too few landlords and letting agents carry out regular checks on tenants.
When the survey was analysed some ‘bad tenant’ trends emerged:
- Men are 18% more likely to commit a crime in a rental home or abscond owing money
- 64% of tenants aged between 18 and 24 years old break their tenancy agreements
- A quarter of tenants paying rent of between £700 and £1,500 a month are more likely to commit crime, leave owing money or receive complaints about too much noise
- Tenants in the West Midlands are more likely to be a problem for landlords than those elsewhere in the country
“When you first start renting out property, you may not realise all the legal implications and duties involved. Last year, for instance, we found that a third of these landlords are, often inadvertently, breaking laws on safety checks, and a quarter have the wrong or no insurance,” said Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance.
“While legislation toughens, we need to make sure that enough is being done to inform and educate landlords too. Certainly, our experience is that many new landlords aren’t wilfully failing in their duties, they simply aren’t aware of all their obligations and commitments.”