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Landlords need protection from rogue tenants

Given the financial issues that landlords can experience when they rent their property out to a nightmare tenant, especially those that allow rent arrears to mount, more needs to be done to protect buy-to-let landlords, according to a leading journalist. 

Writing for The Spectator, Emma Lunn, former editor of Landlord Today, calls for ‘a register of rogue tenants’ in the private rented sector to be introduced and made publically available. 

She points out that while rogue landlords face various fines and penalties, tenants are seemingly free to “fleece one landlord after another”, mainly because landlords whose tenants do a “moonlit flit” owing them money have few rights, due to the fact that failure to pay rent is not considered a crime but a ‘civil matter’.

This means landlords have to take their ex-tenant to the Small Claims Court to try and get the money owed to them. Even if they succeed in getting a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against the tenant, “there’s still no guarantee they’ll pay up”.

Lunn added: “As is stands, a rogue tenant can move from one property to another leaving a trail of rent arrears and unpaid bills in their wake. Tenant references are fairly easy to fake while credit checks don’t show if a tenant has paid their rent on time. 

“If the government is keen on protecting tenants from rogue landlords, why not protect landlords from bad renters too?” 

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    I have lost tens of thousands of pounds to trashed properties and rent arrears.
    Once you serve a section21 for eviction ( due to rent arrears or property damage, which is the main reason for a section 21) they stop paying and more damage is done due to the long delays to evict. Even after you have a court date from the judge they will wait for the bailiff which he some areas can take 12 weeks.
    Where I am there is one bailiff for 90 areas, and more courts are closing with the cuts so you have to attend courts some 20-30 miles away.
    Court fees have increased from 150 to 355 for eviction in the last 2 years.

    Landords should be able to claim from the tenants benefits direct at least 50 per month, this is the only way to make them responsible and pay up and hopefully make them stop doing it.
    Its amazing that if its council tax ie government money they can go to jail but a landlord gets no support . Third party deductions are required and until the debts are paid no council house.

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    A register of rogue tenants would be fantastic - I'd welcome such a thing and have wanted one for years. It'll never be allowed though. No one has the bottle to start one and this govt are too scared to stand up for landlords to allow it. Tenants often have the landlord over a barrel and a lot of them know it!

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    Such a register exists, take a look at http://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk/

     
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    Not just a register is needed but also treating crimes against landlords the same as crimes against other people. We recently had a house trashed by a tenant turning it into a cannabis factory - this has happened to us twice in the last two years. The police were even told by neighbours that they suspected the house was being used to grow cannabis; the police did nothing. The person was left free to continue to wreck our house and sell his cannabis - netting himself possibly tens of thousands of pounds whilst we then paid for the damage, were owed rent and had a void while the house was repaired. The tenant has got off scot-free. If a person somehow got access to an owner-occupied house and did this, the police would take it very seriously. So I think it is even more important that the police should be ordered by their superiors to take these crimes seriously, just as they had to be made to do this years ago in the context of 'domestic violence.'

  • Adrian Taylor

    With the ever increasing legal tightrope that Landlords face, now even being asked to be boarder guards and potential loss of ROI with the soon to be introduced tax changes, also the removal of fees, the government are trying very hard to destroy the private rental market and with very little, if any new social housing being built, not sure were everyone will live in the years to come as accidental landlords (which make up a large part of the sector) sell up and cash in on their assets. Landlords need legal protection against rouge tenants as arrears, damage and stolen white goods would not be acceptable in any other service sector.

    I believe that the removal of fees will only make matters worse, as there will be no financial commitment from tenants and they will just be able to move at will. Its all becoming too one sided and Landlords need to be speaking and write to their MP's as less homes is not the answer and the playing field needs re-balancing.

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    Last month I finally got rid of my rogue tenant. I suppose I had a good run as it's the first as 10 years as a landlord. From starting the legal process to getting him out was 6 months. I am wiser now but still stunned how tenants can get away with not paying for so long. Out of stubbornness, I am going down the legal route to enforce the court judgement for outstanding rent and legal fees despite it costing me more but I don't expect much. Even then, the cash needed to renovate the trashed interior can never be claimed back and a deposit will never be enough to cover such costs. So much in favour of tenants and another reason (to add to the many) why there's no real incentive to invest in BTL or even just deciding to carry on becoming an accidental landlord.

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    Why only BTL Landlords. Should be all Landlords. I'm not BTL and still get the tenant that knows his rights and does a runner. Credit check or no credit check they are a waste of time because a tenants circumstance can change the day after a check has been done. Everything stacks up against Landlords in the name of 'rogue landlords'. Well to my knowledge they are the minority so why are we all being beaten with the big council club? They have found a pot of gold (or what they think is a pot of gold) at the bottom of every Landlords garden and they want all of it. We will never get help with rogue tenants. End of!

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