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Tenant Trouble: Steps to Take When a Tenant is Way Behind on Rent

Even if you vet your tenants carefully, there’s always someone who goes into arrears. When this happens, you could go behind on your mortgage payments and you may have to cut corners on other expenses like maintenance and repair. Your problem tenant may not realize this, but their late payments may affect the quality of service you give them and other tenants as well. As such, it’s important to put your foot down and follow these steps.

Start With a Peaceful Conversation

While your tenant may be breaching your contract, give them the benefit of the doubt first. Be a good landlord and sincerely ask why they haven’t paid rent yet. It could be because of a family emergency. Maybe they just lost their job. Whatever reason it is, try to give them a more manageable amount to pay per month. You may also recommend getting them a flatmate so they can split monthly payments. Suggest getting their payment from their guarantor for now, if they’re really pressed for cash.

Another option you can help them with is getting Housing Benefit from the government. This is for people who have reached the state pension age of 65 and are unemployed or have low income. Younger tenants can get similar benefits with universal credit.

Give a Written Notice

If your tenant is still going on their rent-dodging ways despite the help you gave them, it’s time to send them a formal letter. In it, you should request immediate payment and tell them that they should pay full and on time for future ones. Give a warning that if they breach your agreement again, you’ll pursue legal action. While it may be difficult to treat them this way, you need to be stern to ensure that this kind of situation doesn’t happen again.

Pursue Legal Action

If the problem tenant still hasn’t taken action after a month, eviction is your only option. You have two options for this: section 8 and section 21. The former deals with tenants who are still within the contract’s fixed term. You should be able to confirm that they have indeed broken your agreements in that contract. Once you have a solid case, you can give them notice as early as two weeks before they need to move out. The latter allows you to evict your tenant without proving their fault, but you need to give them at least two months to move out. You may need to enlist the help from a process servicing firm if your tenant is avoiding communication with you. It’s your choice if you want to get them evicted immediately with section 8 or take the slow but sure road with section 21.

Now that you’ve gotten out of this stressful situation, start addressing late payments for your other tenants. You don’t want them to develop this problematic behaviour further. While it may seem like you’re being too strict, it’s your responsibility as a landlord to enforce rules for the good of the property and everyone living in it.

Hire an Efficient Process Server

If your tenant is on the run from their payments, you need to serve them a court order with the help of a process server. Here at MS Webb, we serve your court orders on your behalf. You can count on us to handle every part of your case and ensure that due process is followed to the letter. We have over 25 years of experience in this field so we know what it takes to protect your assets and property.

Contact us today to get help with your case.


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