Having to deal with tenants not paying rent can be one of the more tedious and long-winded aspects of being a landlord. At best, it can be a complicated process, so it’s far better to leave such matters in the hands of property management company.
And LevelUp Property Management, the Milton Keynes-based company that manages property portfolios and blocks of flats for clients nationwide, has an even better solution in the form of a Rent Pledge that offers a guarantee that the landlord will receive the rent every month, even if the tenant doesn’t pay or the property is empty.
The LevelUp team, led by Director Carla Bussey, has built a reputation for helping landlords maximise their assets, and the decision to offer a Rent Pledge adds further financial security for landlords.
“The important thing to remember, as a landlord, is that dealing with tenants that aren’t paying is time-consuming and complicated,” said Carla. “It can involve filing section 8 or section 21 notices, court hearings and even having to arrange bailiffs if it comes to that point.
“It’s a process that is stressful for everyone involved. Having a letting agent can take much of the stress off the landlord because it’s our job to chase up rent payments, sort out tenancy agreements, property inspections and the like. And, with our Rent Pledge, you’re guaranteed not to be out of pocket should you find your tenants fall behind with their payments.”
If you do find yourself dealing with a tenant that isn’t paying the rent, there are some steps to follow to try to resolve the situation.
Hear them out
It will be rare for a tenant to simply not want to pay rent. Difficulties with finances, overworking and even just forgetting that month or losing a job. There are many reasons why a tenant will not pay rent and it happens more frequently than you would think. Times are hard… so the best way to get a tenant to pay any money owed is to be on their side and simply hear them out.
Alternative payment solutions
Once you know the situation, you can look at alternative payment solutions. If the tenant is struggling to pay rent, you can look into things such as potentially reducing rent for a short period of time, but make sure that you have it in writing how long this will last for. They can also explore housing benefits if their problems are down to a sudden crisis such as losing a partner or losing their job.
Have a standing order set up
An easy way to avoid forgetful tenants is to have a standing order set up with your client and their bank. This means that the money will automatically come out on a set date. This eliminates any chance of the tenant forgetting to pay rent.
Ask the tenant to leave
An easy way to cut losses and look to the future when a tenant is not paying rent, is to cut your losses and ask the tenant to leave. This is not ideal but with a mortgage to pay on your part, your investment relies on the rent coming in to make it viable. Getting the current tenant out for a more reliable tenant can some- times be the only option. This is a last resort and it is always best to try to work out a different solution if possible.
How to legally request that a tenant leaves the property
If you feel there is no other option but to request that a tenant leaves the property then there are two options dependent on the length of the tenancy so far, these are:
- Section 8 notice – if the tenant is within the first six months of their tenancy agreement then you can issue a section 8 notice. You must request this from a court. The section 8 notice will need to stipulate exactly what the tenant has done and why you think you are justified in asking them to vacate the property. You must give the tenant between two weeks’ and two months’ notice to vacate with this notice.
- Section 21 notice – this will normally come into play after the typical six-month fixed term period of a lease agreement. You must give the tenant two months’ notice to vacate the property and include a specific date that they need to have vacated the property by.
When the notice period has expired
If the tenant has not vacated the property after the notice period, then it becomes a matter for the courts.
- Standard Possession Order – this must be applied for with the court and applying carries a fee of £355. This will mean that the court writes to the tenant requesting that they leave within a specific date usually after around six weeks.
- Warrant of possession – if the standard possession order does not work you can then apply for a warrant of possession. If giv- en, this will allow you to get bailiffs to remove the tenant from the property.
With all this in mind you might be asking yourself if it is all worth it. Spending months in and out of expensive trips to courtrooms with no guarantee that the rent owed will be given. Valuable time given up with possibly no reward at the end. Are there any alternatives meaning you won’t have to deal with any of these time consuming and unrewarding processes?
A letting agent such as Level Up can assist you with setting up any of these methods, reducing the amount of time that you are dealing with a tenant who is not paying rent. Even if the worst happens, the agent will deal with the long-winded processes.
Carla Bussey added:
“Our team has ‘been there and done that’ with all aspects of property management, including dealing with difficult tenants. If you have a property with a mortgage, you need to know your rents will be paid to cover your own payments. A good property management team will give you that peace of mind.”