Not everyone renting a home enjoys a smooth experience
It isn't difficult to find stories about creepy landlords, ones who refuse to maintain their property and ones who do their best to hang on to their security deposit. These stories make it easy to sympathize with the lot that tenants are stuck with: landlords are rich and propertied, and they hold all the cards.
In reality, though, landlords' forums tend to be full of stories of tenants quietly pouring concrete down drains, running secret sub-let businesses or selling drugs. While it's vital to screen tenants, most of these scenarios occur among those who do come well-screened for good credit and good tenancy history. Tenants tend to have wide range of legal protections in place, and they often unfairly exploit them.
When a tenant refuses to behave or to pay rent, they aren't easy to evict. Legal proceedings can be lengthy and costly to landlords. Managing tenants effectively without eviction, then, tends to be a practical matter. Finding a way to work problems out with tenants often makes far more sense than threatening anyone with eviction. Careful manoeuvring in these situations requires knowledge and experience.
Try to maintain good relations
Often, there is no real way to redeem a difficult situation with a tenant — some people are simply uncooperative, and they need to be evicted. Often, though, tenant issues can be resolved simply through understanding how innocent problems often escalate out of hand. For landlords, simply being polite and doing a good job taking care of maintenance complaints can go a long way. Being on first-name terms with each tenant, and keeping regular lines of communication open can help, as well. The idea is to build a personal relationship with each tenant, making it hard for them to behave poorly.
Recognize problems early on
Usually, when a tenant begins to act unreasonably, it's important to take immediate action. Many landlords, though, sink deeper and deeper into situations involving unpaid rent and other tenant issues, simply because they do not know how a deal with it.
Many landlords attempt to use a show of force by making empty threats about eviction proceedings. These threats do not usually work; they aren't taken seriously. The idea of starting eviction proceedings early on is an excellent way to avoid serious outcomes; it's important to be convincing, though. Signing up with an eviction attorney for serious preliminary action is all it usually takes to get a reaction out of an uncooperative tenant.
It isn't necessary to be wary of the idea of contacting an attorney; contacting one doesn't necessarily need to lead to full-blown proceedings. Lawyers armed with legally valid eviction notices simply make for an effective threat.
Promise the tenant their security deposit back
Often, landlords tend to believe that they should threaten their tenant with a full security deposit deduction to get them to leave quickly. They believe that such displays of anger can help their cause. In truth, though, they tend to work against them. When tenants in financial trouble are told that they won't get their deposit back, often they come to the conclusion that they should never leave; they wouldn't have a way to pay the deposit on their next home if they didn't get their deposit back.
Anytime a landlord wishes to get a tenant to leave, then, the cheapest way out is usually to offer a full security deposit refund in return for leaving. The idea of having a large sum of money coming through is usually enough to get most people going.
Finding a reasonable middle path
Keeping up with the basics of the Landlord and Tenant Act as it changes and evolves is an important part of being successful at managing rental properties. Such involvement can be hard for many landlords to muster, though. In such cases, hiring an estate agent or lettings agent can be one of the smartest moves to make (there's useful information on this homepage).
With the kind of experience that professional agents have judging tenants, eviction proceedings are rarely needed.
By Keira Ibbott
Keira works in lettings and is used to helping landlords manage their property and tenants. She enjoys the opportunity to share her insights online and writes regularly for a number of property websites.