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What Happens When Your Tenant Doesn’t Pay?

I met a landlord over the weekend for the first time who had quite simply had enough. He had just the one property, a two bed home on the Plumstead – Welling border which he had decided to let out and manage himself, finding his tenant on Gumtree almost 2 years ago.

All was good for a while as he had researched the correct procedures and made sure the basics were covered like protecting the tenants deposit etc. But then 4 months ago the tenant stopped paying his rent and avoided any contact the landlord had made to try to rectify the situation.

Could this situation have been prevented by using a professional letting agent? Perhaps but perhaps not…. whilst unscrupulous tenants are more liable to target private listings than those by a property professional there is no guarantee that thorough checks on a person’s history will predict their future and circumstances do change. This is why I always recommend taking out a decent rent insurance as a minimum.

Having already lost out on the rent for the last 4 months the landlord wanted to know how much longer he could expect to have to wait before he could relet his property or, as he was considering after this experience, sell it. I had a look at the data from the Ministry of Justice on the time taken from initial claim to regaining the property and what I found was very sobering indeed…. in the period of April to June of this year 34,008 landlord possession claims were recorded in county courts (down 6% from 2015), during this time there were 28,125 orders for possession, 18,186 warrants of possession and 10,467 repossessions by county court bailiffs. Whilst all these figures are down from 2015 (which can only be good for all parties involved) I think you’ll agree that the numbers are still pretty high, although making up a small section of the sector.

The average length of time from the initial claim to progress to an order was 11 weeks, until a warrant was received 34.7 weeks and until repossession by county court bailiffs 41 weeks. Taking into account the rent will already be in arrears at the point of making a claim this could amount to a year or more with no rent received! Add this to the not insignificant costs incurred during the court process and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

Stamp Duty in Woolwich SE18Just as good tenants deserve to be protected from bad landlords, good landlords (which I am sure you are seeing as you are taking the time to read this blog) deserve protection from bad tenants, which is why I strongly recommend taking out rent guarantee insurance as a minimum. Most rent insurance policies not only cover the lost rent but also the cost of the eviction procedure itself.

All our managed properties get rent guarantee insurance included as standard, there is also an option to guarantee your rent on the same day of the month, every month whether or not the tenant pays, essential if you are relying on your rental income. Mention this article before the end of 2016 when you let your property or switch your management to us and we’ll discount the guaranteed on time rental service to just 10% including VAT.

I don’t usually promote our services on here but after seeing the stress it had put this landlord under felt that it was important to share his story along with sharing ways in which you can minimise the effect if you were unfortunate enough to find yourself in a similar situation.

To read the full MOJ report click here

If you would like to discuss this further, including switching the management of your property to us, please call 020 8310 2416 and speak to myself (Paul) or Rebecca.

Self Manage? City Landlord have a range of rent guarantee products.