Are your tenants hiding any nasty surprises?
It's the landlord’s worst nightmare.
Your model tenants have moved out and you're ready to install the next renter.
You visit the property to do what you think is going to be a brief inspection and a little routine maintenance, only to discover doors hanging off their hinges, rooms filled with rubbish, and chunks of plaster dug out of the walls.
It's a scenario which is surprisingly common.
Our survey said.....
A recent survey revealed almost 50% of tenants admit to hiding nasty surprises from their landlord.
This seems a staggeringly high figure, and one which will do nothing to alleviate the anxieties felt by many small landlords who worry about how their tenants are treating their property.
To be fair, 55% of the 1350 renters who responded to the survey said they have nothing to hide from their landlords.
That's the good news. The bad news is that 45% of renters DO have something to hide.
The biggest issues seem to be subletting, damage, and keeping prohibited pets.
A perennial problem
Subletting has always being an issue for landlords and 40% of renters admit to doing this.
This is especially prevalent amongst, but by no means limited to, young professionals in high-rent areas.
Not only does subletting cost the landlord money in unpaid rent, it can also invalidate insurance and even be contrary to mortgage conditions. All of which can end up costing the landlord an awful lot of cash.
It isn't always wilful damage and vandalism which can cost landlords money. Incompetent DIY and slapdash decoration can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds to put right. As can the damage caused by pets, especially by dogs to the garden areas.
Protecting your investment
A rental property is a sizeable investment and one which needs to be protected. Yet, landlords often feel that, once a tenant has being installed into a property, the landlords rights go out of the window.
There are steps you can take to protect your investment and ensure you aren't met with any nasty surprises when a tenant vacates.
Your rights as a landlord
As a responsible landlord you will be keen to strike a balance between giving your tenants space and ensuring your property is being looked after.
Under the 1988 Housing Act you are entitled to reasonable rights of access. In practice this means you need to give your tenant 24 hours’ notice and your visit must be at a 'reasonable' time of the day.
Carrying out regular inspections not only ensures there won't be any nasty surprises for you when the tenant moves out, but also enables you to keep on top of routine maintenance saving you time and money at the end of a lease.
When carrying out an inspection don't just look for obvious signs of damage.
If you don't allow pets and there is a dog bowl under the sink it's a pretty good bet your tenant has something to hide! Likewise, sleeping bags on the floor or mattresses pushed against a wall should sound warning bells.
Safeguard yourself from the start
One way to minimise the risk of your tenant hiding any unwanted surprises is to have a thorough vetting process before you install a new tenant.
Credit checks and right to rent checks all have their place. However, you can save yourself so much anxiety and possibly money by making sure you only rent to people you can be reasonably certain won't cause you any hassle and, once you find them, keep hold of them.
Read our article Landlords: How to keep a good tenant for more information and take the first steps to protecting your property from destructive and dishonest tenants.