Acting on behalf of landlords on a wide variety of matters

From just £400*
  • Assist with the Service of Notices

    To terminate a tenancy and possession proceedings against a tenant in breach.

  • All encompassing service

    Includes rent arrears, property damage, rights of access and a whole host of other areas which help protect your investment.

With additional conveyancing expertise we can work closely with you to offer an all encompassing service which facilitates the purchase of property, the establishment of letting terms and the resolution of any tenancy disputes.

Steps to Prevent Arrears

It is a time-consuming process to chase a tenant through the courts to repay debts plus some tenants lack assets meaning the debt built up may never be repaid. There are a number of ways for landlords to prevent arrears from building up in the first place.

Referencing – If a tenant has a persistent history of rent arrears or problems paying their debts, they can be identified through their credit history or what their employer or current landlord states in a reference. Having a poor credit history makes a tenant more likely to end up in arrears compared to someone who has an excellent credit score.

Salmons Solicitors recommends landlords should fully reference all of their tenants to lower the risk that they will end up with a persistent non-payer as a tenant. If a landlord can check references and payment ability themselves, they still need to credit check their tenants before giving them a tenancy. The credit score provided will estimate if the tenant will likely fall into arrears.

Payment Ability – The general rule of affordability is calculated on the principle that a tenants rent should not exceed 30% of their wages, but this may vary depending which area of the country you are based, with rent prices higher in areas such as London. As a responsible landlord will be keen to get a tenant who won’t struggle to pay the rent.

Guarantors – When a prospective tenant has failed to meet the affordability criteria or has a poor credit score a landlord may still choose to rent the property to them. In this instance, the landlord will require a suitable guarantor to make sure they have a better chance of recouping losses that could occur.

What is a Suitable Guarantor?

A suitable guarantor will be in full-time employment, have no prior credit issues and earn enough to meet the general rule of affordability (stated above) and be a homeowner in the UK. This is a common move for landlords who rent out to students as the students will be too young to have built up a credit history plus, they are not in full-time employment.

Benefit Payments

Tenants who have rent in arrears are most likely to be in receipt of some form of housing benefit payment, mainly because housing benefits are usually paid in arrears and typically don’t cover the entire rental amount.

As a landlord renting to tenants who are dependent on benefit payments, we would advise checking their payments regularly. Tenants may benefit from advice from their landlord for events such as benefit sanctions, Universal Credit changes or administrative errors. By directing your tenants to the correct advice you can help them avoid ending up in arrears.

Sometimes a tenant who has a great credit score and does everything right could have a change of circumstances such as losing their job. As a landlord, if you have rent insurance you will only suffer minor disruption to their payments.

Claims Against Tenants for Property Damage

When renting a property, damages can occur from accidents, through neglect or as a result of the tenant’s behaviour or someone they know. If the rented property becomes damaged the tenant is responsible for necessary repairs.
The tenant will need to report the damage caused and communicate with the landlord about the best way to repair the problem and not hide it from the landlord. For tenants, it’s best to repair the damages before you leave as costs may be deducted their deposit at the end of the tenancy. Fair wear and tear will also need to be accounted for before these deductions are made.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 sets out the responsibilities for landlords and tenants with section 11 dealing with the issue of repairs and states that tenants should be:
“Making good any damage to the property caused by the behaviour or negligence of the tenant, members of his/her household or any other person lawfully visiting or living in the property.”

Professional Support with Housing Law Claims

If you require any advice or have any questions regarding making a housing law claim please get in touch with Salmons Solicitors today.

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