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Tenants from Hell

It’s a landlords’ dread!

A nice respectable looking tenant, with a good professional job, such as a lawyer or maybe teacher. The first few months of the tenancy goes like clockwork, and then suddenly they become the tenants from hell.

Tenants From hell

You are not alone. I’m out in Malaysia at the moment and scanning through the local Sunday paper there is a double page spread on Malaysian landlords and how they suffer at the hands of dodgy tenants. In the article there are references to : "sinks and toilet bowls filled with cement, walls broken by sledgehammers, damaged furniture and front doors adorned with red paint."

Now, this seems extreme, even for nightmare tenants, but I’m sure some landlords in the UK have faced worse. One landlord I’ve heard about has been scared off renting their property indefinitely. So UK landlords are not alone in their constant battle to avoid – the tenants from hell.

Starting point for avoiding bad tenants

The starting point for avoiding dodgy tenants is to ensure that you reference them thoroughly, to help try and filter them out.

Don’t just go on the tenant’s appearance, this can be misleading. Make sure you ask the right questions and DON’T accept any convenient answers. Always try and get to understand the tenants back story and motivations. If you start asking difficult questions then many scammers will be scared off. One trick of mine given to me by a hard bitten letting agent was to insist on a tenants previous bank statements. That way you can immediately get a feel for the tenant’s finances. Does it show a salary? Can you see their rent payments go out regularly? Are they perpetually overdrawn?

There are no guarantees

Having properly referenced, credit checked and screened your prospective tenant, you have probably done as much as you can, to have screened out any dodgy tenants. However, there are still no guarantees to been successful. Even a thorough vetting process occasionally can let a tenant from hell through. At that point a landlord needs to look at remedial action to get them out.

Removal of tenants from hell

The starting point of any action against your tenant from hell is the tenancy agreement and the primary legislation the Housing Act 1988 as amended. Don’t hesitate in starting the possession process. Hesitation or procrastination will just prolong it all. So start by issuing a section 21 notice in order to secure your possession order

If you need legal advice on possession contact a legal expert or for free expert advice post a question in our landlord legal forum.

For more info on tenants from hell check out the links below:

An example of a tenant from hell

New app promises to screen out tenants from hell
Vetting your tenants to avoid tenants from hell

Landlord insurance – professional rates and portfolio discounts

If you have had an experience of a tenant from hell, share it with us by posting your comments below.

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