Dealing with tenants in rent arrears


Published on Coast to Country Letting Agents provide professional and personal property management and letting agent service. Specifically property in Seaford, Lewes, Eastbourne, Newhaven, Saltdean and Brighton.

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Dealing with tenants in rent arrears

  1. 1. Dealing With Tenants In Rent ArrearsOver 100,000 UK Tenants Face Increasing Rent ArrearsThe number of private sector tenants in severe arrears is still increasing, albeit at a slower rate, risingby 1.6% in the 3rd quarter of 2012.There are now more than 99,000 tenants in rent arrears greater than 8 weeks plus – the highestsince 2008 and 15% more than last year.Tenants in severe arrears represent 2.5% of all PRS tenancies in the UKAlthough severe arrears cases climbed steadily last quarter, overall tenant arrears fell slightly inAugust 2012, with 9% of all rent late or unpaid, the first improvement in this measure in threemonths.Despite the steady growth in severe tenant arrears so far this year, there was a slight reduction inthe number of tenants who faced eviction through court order on a quarterly basis.In the 2nd quarter of 2012, some 25,422 tenants faced eviction, a quarterly fall of 6% compared tothe previous quarter. However, evictions remain 8% higher on an annual basis.For landlords dealing with tenants in rent arrears, life can be difficult and the stress can beintolerable, but every effort must be made by the landlord to reach an amicable resolution beforeany legal action can be taken.Many UK landlords will probably have to deal with this problem at some time or another, and thereality is that it may well be sooner rather than later, especially with the introduction of the new“Universal Credit” system due in October 2013.With dispute resolution in mind, here are a few hints for landlords to try to get the tenant(s) to payup.1 – Gentle Reminder within 48 hours of the missed payment dateThe tenant may have issues with their payroll department, or may have forgotten to transfer thefunds, they may have a problem with their bank or had a problem with a standing order.A phone call or polite letter should be all that’s needed at this stage, if it was a genuine mistake.2 – Propose a Repayment PlanIf the tenant is struggling to meet rental payments or has been late on more than a single occasion,or are having difficulties with debt, there are professional companies like Legal 4 Landlords that canhelp .3 – Stick To The Terms Of The Rental AgreementEven if tenant(s) breach the terms of the tenancy agreement by not paying the rent, the landlord
  2. 2. could still face legal proceedings if they fail to act within the law and abide by the terms of the rentalagreement.4 – Serve Notice For PossessionA notice of eviction. There are legal guidelines that must be observed about how long landlords mustwait before such a notice can be served, usually once a tenant is more than 8 weeks in rent arrears.There are also rules about how long your tenant has to repay the arrears, or move out. Notices forpossession should be handled by tenant eviction specialists and all correspondence should be sentrecorded delivery, as proof of delivery.5 – Start Eviction ProceedingsThere are two ways to issue proceedings:Accelerated Possession Procedure (Section 8) which would involve a court hearing or possessionunder the ‘fixed date’ procedure (Section 21) whereby the landlord gives at least 2 months notice forthe possession of the rental property.Speak to Legal 4 Landlords on 0844 567 4001to find out more about these options and take advicefrom the UK’s leading landlord services company.