How landlords can avoid rogue tenants

Being a good landlord is all about finding the right tenant, and avoiding the rogues…

Landlord Advice

16 June 2017

We’ve all seen stories in the media about ‘rogue tenants’ and landlords finding themselves with massive rent arrears, damaged properties and long legal battles.

In many cases, this is because landlords have failed to conduct the necessary checks when finding new tenants. Here’s how to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

Attracting rogue tenants

It can be tempting to save a bit of money by avoiding letting agencies. However, this could make finding tenants for your property a risky business. Alternative methods to using an agency include social media, word of mouth and online classified adverts.

Typically, landlords use online classified sites since they have little time to manage their properties: they could be living remotely, even abroad. However, they could result in no initial meeting, no background checks and no regular contact with the landlord or letting agency. With no screening, an underhanded tenant could falsify their rental history and income, and provide false references.

For more information on ensuring a tenant has the right to rent, check out our guide to England’s Right To Rent legislation

The benefits of a licensed letting agency

A licensed agency knows all about rogue tenants, rental legislation and landlord rights. They will run in-depth background checks. They will always meet prospective tenants face-to-face, and know the signs to look out for (wanting to move quickly, or offering rent in advance, for example). Besides, a serial rogue tenant knows better than to rent through a licensed agency. Yes, the agency will take a fee – but this cost is nothing compared with rent arrears and legal costs.

Paul Shamplina, the founder of Landlord Action and a regular on Channel 5’s Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords couldn’t be clearer. He told Property Reporter: "My advice would always be to use a credited letting agent who can let your property through the correct procedures and are up-to-date with all legislation in the private rented sector."

Attracting the right tenants

If a landlord is unfortunate enough to end up with a rogue tenant and attempts legal action to claim rent arrears, the tenant may claim there’s a fault with the property. This enables them to live rent-free at the property as the case drags on. For this reason, a well-maintained property is less likely to attract undesirable tenants. A letting agent will expect a high standard from the landlords on its books – so if your property is in good condition, it will pass the agency’s vetting criteria and they’ll find you the right tenants.

Protecting your property

AXA can also help protect you from some unforeseen circumstances landlords can encounter, by providing landlord insurance to protect you, your property and your rental investment.

Our landlord insurance, together with a reputable letting agent, will help smooth your path as a landlord.