Unscrupulous landlords are often the subject of media condemnation, but how often do you hear about troublesome tenants? In this month’s column, James Parden, reveals they are more common than we are led to believe…
Sadly, most landlords will one day come across a tenant that fails continually to stick to the terms of their tenancy agreement.
These problem tenants can make life very difficult for you and those living around them, causing damage to your property, prompting complaints or even involving the police and other agencies.
If you think it is an isolated problem, think again. A national newspaper recently featured ‘mega landlords,’ Fergus and Judith Wilson, who own hundreds of properties in Kent and have a list of prospective tenants they are no longer willing to house.
Unsurprisingly, this list did not garner public approval, as many of those banned by the couple represented sections of society most in need of decent rental accommodation, including single mothers and workers on zero-hours contracts.
The Wilsons’ measures may appear draconian, but it is important to put their views into context. They have dealt with a number of problem tenants and it has taken up to 13 months at a time to obtain possession orders from the county court.
This may seem like an inordinate delay when an eviction is necessary, but if the tenants have any potential counter claim against the landlord, it can slow the process significantly.
Possible objections to eviction include failure to protect the deposit, serving an invalid Section 21 notice or committing other breaches of the lease or landlord’s statutory duties. It is, therefore, essential you are aware of current legislation and the obligations imposed by your tenancy agreements.
Even for professional landlords with multiple properties, it can be challenging to keep abreast of changes to the law and one false move could land you in hot water.
My advice is don’t suffer the stress and anxiety of trying to evict a problem tenant alone. Professional support from a specialist doesn’t cost the earth and will ensure you avoid the pitfalls of extended litigation, helping you obtain possession of your property as quickly as possible.
James Parden is a specialist in property litigation at Sheffield’s Taylor&Emmet LLP and will be running a free seminar in March. For more information, telephone (0114) 218 4000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the department on Twitter @te_propertylaw.