Whether you're a renter or landlord you'll want to enjoy a tenancy
without arguments and disputes. Which is easier said than done. But whichever
side of the rent book you're on here's our top 5 ways to avoid landlord-tenant
1 - Do your due diligence
A little due diligence before either party sign the tenancy agreement can
avoid an awful lot of disputes and ill-feeling. This applies equally to tenants
It may seem like stating the obvious but do thoroughly check out the
property during your viewing. Look beyond the number of bedrooms or the layout
of the living room. Is the property ready to move into? Is the paintwork and
plastering up to scratch? Is the furniture in good condition? Check inside the
oven to make sure it's been cleaned. A sign of a good landlord is the care
taken on the property. And if the landlord cares about the property they'll
care about you as a tenant. All of which points to a harmonious tenancy with no
But if the property is shabby or you see obvious neglect it could be a
sign of a dodgy
landlord. If this is the case disputes further down the line are
inevitable. You'll be wise to consider another property.
When landlords rent out their buy to let property it's always a
slightly nervous time. Will the new tenant look after the rental? Will they pay
the rent on time? Will they be a good tenant? Will I end up arguing or trying to resolve
disputes? All valid concerns. Choosing the right tenant will mitigate those
concerns. And referencing plays a big part in finding that tenant.
Thorough referencing is essential. Check out your tenant's employment
status, their financial standing and their previous rental history. Get a
reference from their previous landlords. This is probably more important than a
credit check. If a previous landlord has had disputes with the tenant why on
earth would you take the risk? While this obviously isn't a guaranteed process
your tenant, you can reduce the risks of disputes in the future.
2 - Understand the tenancy agreement
This is so important. The landlord and the tenant must understand the
tenancy agreement. Each must be crystal clear on their responsibilities. This
will reduce the potential for disputes.
For example, tenants' responsibilities will include paying the utility
bills, keeping the property clean and paying the rent on time. Carrying out
timely repairs and ensuring the property is energy efficient and safe are the
landlord’s responsibilities. The tenancy agreement will
detail all of this. Make sure you read and understand it to avoid unnecessary
3 - Establish a good relationship
The tenant-landlord relationship is so important. Don't get me wrong
here. I'm not suggesting socialising, exchanging Christmas gifts and inviting
each other to family weddings. But a mutually respectful relationship will help
any tenancy proceed smoothly.
A good tenant-landlord relationship is mostly a matter of
communication. If you're a landlord make sure your tenant has your contact
details. And always respond promptly if your tenant reaches out to you. Take
their phone calls and answer their texts.
If you're a renter understand your landlord can't always drop
everything and ride to the rescue. If the tap starts dripping at 2am in the
morning don't immediately get on the phone.
At the end of the day communication between tenant and landlord is so
important. And that good relationship will make it much easier to quickly
resolve any issues without rancour.
4 - Respect the property
So many tenant-landlord disputes revolve around repairs and
maintenance. Delayed repair causes frustration for tenants. But the landlord
despairs at a tenant's unrealistic expectations. Even a minor issue like the
aforementioned dripping tap can escalate into a full-blown dispute. Yet all it
takes is a little common sense and empathy. And respect for the property.
If you're a tenant you have a responsibility to look after your rental home.
This applies to appliances too. Look after them. However, if something does go
wrong and you need to report a repair do so promptly. But give your landlord a
reasonable timeframe to respond and resolve any issues.
If you're a landlord, regular inspections can highlight any potential
issues before they become a problem. But if your tenant does report a repair
fix it as soon as possible. And carry out scheduled maintenance tasks on the
agreed dates. Again, good communication and tenant-landlord relationship are
If both the tenant and the landlord look after the property and work
together to resolve any issues the chances of any disputes arising are minimal.
5 - Be aware of the Tenant Fees Ban
It's no surprise that many disputes revolve around money. Either the
tenant owing it or the landlord demanding too much of it. The tenancy agreement
should include all financial responsibilities for both tenant and landlord. But
both parties being aware of the Tenant
Fees Ban will prevent any unnecessary financial disputes.
The Tenants Fees Act controls the charges a tenant can be asked to pay.
It came into force on June 1, 2019. By being aware of the new laws the tenant
will be more aware of their rights. And a landlord won’t demand illegal fees.
All of which lessens the chances of financial disputes.
Applying some common sense and being prepared to compromise a little
while keeping in touch will prevent so many disputes. Which is something all
tenants and landlords will agree is for the best.