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‘Professional Crook’ tenants exploit eviction laws, says agent

Some tenants are effectively “professional crooks” taking advantage of Coronavirus law changes to avoid paying landlords, a leading letting agent says.

Benham and Reeves director Marc von Grundherr says: “The situation for landlords throughout the pandemic has been shocking and while eviction notice periods have now been reduced to four months, many continue to lose thousands in rental income every month due to rogue tenants and the long delays suffered while trying to evict them.

“We’re talking about professional crooks who have taken severe advantage of legislation designed to support those who are actually suffering financially and are in need of support.


“We had one particular case where a tenant moved into a new property at [London’s] Television Centre in October 2019 and only ever paid the first month's rent and nothing thereafter. 

“The eviction hearing was on March 30 this year and we couldn’t get a bailiff appointment until August 25. The poor owner suffered a loss of over £50,000 plus to add salt to the wounds the tenant stole all the landlord's furniture.

“We have another property we are yet to repossess as the tenant has claimed on three separate occasions when the bailiff has been scheduled that both her and her partner have COVID-19. Therefore the eviction can’t take place adding a further two or three weeks for a new bailiff appointment in the process.

“These guys are utilising every trick in the book and so the reality is that many evictions are stretching on far longer than a year.”

Benham and Reeves calculates that when a six month timeframe was implemented on eviction notices early in the Covid period, the average rent across the UK was £985 per month. Those landlords unlucky enough to fall foul of a rogue tenant at this monthly rate of rental income will therefore have seen an annual loss in rental income to the tune of £11,820.

But the financial impact of a rogue tenant doesn’t stop at lost rental income, the London agency says.

A rogue tenant can also cause significant damage to a property and it’s not unusual that landlords will have to fork out thousands to refit their kitchen and bathroom, redecorate their property and even replace the windows. These costs can climb extremely high and even the average property will require a refurb budget in excess of £20,000 to rectify these basic bricks and mortar fundamentals.

Landlords also have to spend an average of £3,000 on legal fees to either evict or reclaim damages from a rogue tenant, all of which brings the average cost of a rogue tenant to £35,558 for the average UK landlord.

Landlords in London have faced the most expensive cost of evicting a rogue tenant during the pandemic due to the capital’s more expensive rent values, bringing the average total cost to £43,574.

von Grundherr continues: “Rogue tenants are a landlord’s worst nightmare and unfortunately this nightmare rarely ends when they are finally evicted. More often than not, the property is in severe disrepair when it is finally repossessed and this is sometimes done out of spite, or simply to strip the property of materials they can then sell on.

“What’s more, the landlord will have usually suffered arrears prior to starting the eviction process and is still required to make mortgage payments out of their own pocket during a period where their property is generating no income.

“Unfortunately, legislative changes in recent years and particularly during the pandemic have focussed solely on the well being of tenants and so the backbone of the UK rental market has been further weakened as landlords are left high and dry to pick up the pieces.”

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    Wonderful just take out a few more vertebrates, remove Section 21 that should help to make it worse.


    Worse for the decent tenants who will not be able to rent any property.

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    This has been going on for years CoronaVirus just have them a different excuse. To the ‘John Smith’ &’Leics LL’ types on this forum this is a major reason why your rent is increasing!

  • Mohammad Kamran  Iqbal

    My sister has lost close to £40,000 rental income that should have been paid to her mortgage company. No support from our Government.


    In fact the government has put in place every barrier it can devise to stop landlords collecting any rent. Many of the rent problems could be cured at a stroke of the pen by making direct payments to the landlord by default with no option for the tenant to be paid. In addition any benefit caps should be taken from the claimant’s spending money not the rent.
    So simple yet the government goes in the opposite direction, it is almost as if it wished to increase homelessness for that is what it is achieving.

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    As ever it is the decent tenants who lose out as LLs increase rent to cover potential losses; become increasingly careful about who they rent to & sell up and move into safer assets.

    This Govt is sleep walking us into a housing crisis, the like of which has not been seen before.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    All so true, many Landlords have come to us during the pandemic with stories of the FreeLoaders taking advantage.
    The Govt just used Landlords as a " Tenants Furlough, " at no cost to them but great cost to all the Landlords affected by the suspension of justice [sic]


    Yes justice has been suspended for lanlords during the pandemic and will be substantially delayed for the forseeable future.

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    That's why I'm selling up... I'll be keeping a couple for Airbnb.. Better orption, better money, less hassle. The government can find homes for my tenants... I've had enough of being classed as scum.

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    About time this was headline news and at the forefront in the minds of those intent on increased regulation.
    Industry progression must be for good landlords and good tenants.... and not detrimental to either.
    Begs the question.... why aren't the NALA / ARLA / SAFEAGENT banging this drum?

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    @LandlordToday - send this to Michael Gove!

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    So therapeutic, just to see our plight in print!!!! Agree wholeheartedly with all the comments from my fellow Landlords.

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    I also agree with all said here. I have already diverted a new flat to holiday lets, not much needed single lets. No Hassle and better returns so far.
    Unfortunately the Govt's reaction will be to remove the advantages, not encourage landlords to rent to full time tenants.
    It would be very good to send this article and the comments to Michael Gove. I have more respect for his abilities than most of the previous holders of this cabinet office.

  • Suzy OShea

    Who expects support from this execrable criminally corrupt government sucking up to generation rent to extend its worthless life at the next general election? Only a fool would do this. Especially with dishonest Gove now in charge, by Jove!

    This corrupt government actively encourages criminal behavior of rogue tenants by keeping the courts understaffed so that the waiting time stretches to a year to get a case heard and then there is another six months to get bailiffs to act.

    Unless criminal damage carries a prison term instead of a tiny fine, criminal rogue tenants will carry on and expand their activities.

    It's clear that this government wants private landlords with small portfolios out of this business because they can't easily keep tabs on them. That is one of the reasons why the new legislation is becoming so onerous and the landlords can be robbed blind at will. It's open season on landlords and has been since the removal of section 21 was mooted.

    Once the private rental sector is almost exclusively in the ownership of large companies that can afford to lobby government for laws that give them greater power of eviction over criminal rogue tenants, things will change, because otherwise they will desert this sector/service too. Then homelessness will explode.

    The question is, which small-holders of properties can afford to hang on?


    This is why there must be no risk taking with new tenants, no benefit scroungers, no single mums, no one under 25, check every new tenant very carefully , guarantors where ever possible , if that new tenant doesn't seem quite right then no tenancy, there are plenty of new tenants to chose from so be very selective , the result will be that explosion in the homeless, not our problem, leave them to the local council their problem.


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