Bad tenant - now may be the time to let go

bad tenants

Almost every landlord will suffer a bad tenant at some point and it’s not a pleasant situation to have to deal with. Whether they are always in arrears with their rent payments, causing damage to the property or being a nuisance to neighbours and/or other tenants, unfortunately your priority should be getting your property back and as soon as possible so you can re-let to a decent tenant who abides by the terms of their tenancy agreement.

However, it isn’t a straightforward process. Eviction can be a long and painful process, especially if the tenant fights it and, if the actual problem is temporary money issues but they have been a good tenant to date, it may be much better to give them a chance to improve their financial situation and to make up their arrears in part or in full rather than go down the eviction route.

Currently we are expecting tenant rent arrears to rise partly because average wages have not risen in line with inflation this year and partly because rents are on the increase, due to higher taxation imposed by the government and in some areas a decline in the number of rental properties on the market while demand remains buoyant.

So, if you are ‘sticking with’ a bad tenant at the moment because you’re worried about having a vacant property, the good news is that if you are in an area which has a shrinking supply and no sign of demand wavering, assuming that your property is in good condition, you may not have much trouble re-letting.

If your tenant has breached one or more of the terms of their tenancy agreement, you can issue them with a Section 8 Notice giving them between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice to leave, depending on which terms they’ve broken. If they don’t leave by the specified date, you can then apply to the court for a possession order – click here for more details.

But all that can take time to administer, meaning your problem drags on, so it may be worthwhile speaking to the tenant and perhaps offering to refund their deposit and/or not pursue them for the rent they owe, in return for them vacating the property early.

Many landlords are loathed to let a non-paying tenant leave before they’ve recovered the rent owed, but you have to weigh up the cost of pursuing the tenant and perhaps extending the time they’re still in your property and not paying anything, versus the peace of mind of having a clean slate with a new tenant. And with the rental market the way it is at the moment, you may find you not only secure a better new tenant but that you’re also able to raise the rent, putting you in a stronger cash flow position.