Nightmare Tenants and How to Deal with them

Landlords should be aware of the potential problems which can arise from tenants, and read this advice on some of the most common problems.

Useful Ways to Prevent Problems

Firstly, and most importantly, landlords should do all the proper vetting checks on tenants including interviews, references and credit checks.  Good tenants are unlikely to cause any of these problems.

Messy TenantsKnowing the neighbours of the property will benefit the landlord enormously.  The neighbours can be a great source of information especially if there is any suspected foul play.

The Problems

Late Payment

Late payment of the rent might not always be a big problem as it depends on the type of relationship the landlord has with the tenants.  To help prevent late payments the relationship should be kept professional.

At the start of a tenancy, the landlord should encourage the tenant to set up a Standing Order on the same date every month that will suit the tenant.

The landlord should act quickly if tenants are starting to be late with payments.  Alternative payment methods could be offered to make paying rent easier for the tenant.  If late payment persists and the tenant can no longer afford the property the landlord can consider evicting the tenant (See Section 21 for more info on evicting tenants).  In this case the correct procedures for eviction should always be followed.

Bad Décor

The rules on decorating the property should be stated in the tenancy agreement.  It may be a risky choice to allow the tenant a complete free reign on how the property is decorated as everybody’s tastes are different.  A good way to avoid any decorating disasters, while still allowing the tenants to decorate, is to limit decorating to neutral colours only.  This way the tenant still gets to update the décor and the landlords keeps colours which are suitable for a wider audience.


In the majority of situations pets will not cause any harm to a property, although there may be more concern for a fully furnished property.  There are nightmare situations where they can cause problems with smell, mess or damage.   Some landlords choose to disallow pets because of these potential situations.

The landlord has to remember that it is the tenant’s home while they are renting the property, although at the same time the landlord may have concerns over potential problems a pet could bring.

Many pets, such as cats and dogs will cast which will leave the property in a mess when the tenant leaves.  Some landlords apply a small charge that covers extra cleaning costs for the property.

Disallowing Inspections / Visits

A landlord is allowed to inspect the property as long as they provide reasonable notice.  They may also need access to the property for gas checks or any other maintenance.  If a tenant is not agreeing to visits and inspections it can cause a real inconvenience for the landlord.  If the tenant completely refuses inspections this will put the tenant in breach of their tenancy agreement and will give the landlord grounds to evict the tenant.

Damage to Property

Tenants should inform the landlord of any damage to the property which may or may not be covered by the deposit.  If not, landlords should have landlord insurance and the tenants should also have, although not compulsory, contents insurance.  Accidental damage with a fair explanation should be overlooked providing the tenant can pay for the damages.

Additional Occupants

Most tenancy agreements do not allow additional guests to live or stay in the property for a prolonged period of time, yet in some situations these rules are abused.  This is difficult to catch tenants in the act and also difficult to prove.  Landlords can arrange inspections, but evidence of an extra occupant is likely to be hidden.

Worst Case Scenarios

In some situations the problems caused by tenants can be a bit more extreme.  The following problems are rare and unlikely to occur in your property.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Anti-social behaviour from tenants can cause all sorts of problems from upsetting the neighbours to breaking the law.  Keeping in contact with the neighbours will also help keep on top of any anti-social behaviour problems.

Illegal Use of the Property

There are all sorts of ways a property can be illegally used.  Landlords can't possibly know exactly how to prevent every single scenario, but can keep an eye open for any potential warning signs.

Landlords should carry out inspections on the property every so often, and keep an eye out for anything suspicious that could suggest illegal activity.  If illegal activity can be proven it will give the landlord grounds to evict the tenants from the property.  Landlords should not confront the tenants as the police should be contacted.

Author: Scott Pringle

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