One of the most challenging parts of being a landlord is knowing what to do if your tenant doesn’t pay rent.
If your tenant isn’t paying rent, then this is costing you money as you will still have to pay the ongoing costs such as a mortgage and insurance.
This blog will summarise what to do if your tenant doesn’t pay rent and enable you to rectify the issue with the tenant or remove them from the property.
What To Do If Your Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent – First Steps
The first step should be to talk to your tenant if the rent has not been paid. Contact them by telephone and a text reminder, followed by a letter and email and try to remain polite, and courteous. Whilst it is frustrating for any landlord to have to deal with missed rental payments, there may be circumstances which you are not aware of.
If your tenants have been great up to this point, and this is the first instance, being sensitive to their situation can be a good way to show that you actually care about them and reinforce a good relationship (and we know that happy tenants who feel appreciated and valued will stay in rental properties much longer giving you a long term source of income).
During this initial phase, you want to ensure that you are acting in a reasonable manner as poor behaviour could harm your position if the issue persists and goes to court.
If you find that the tenant is having problems with their finances, you may choose to arrange a payment plan so that they can repay what they can afford over the next few months.
If there is a guarantor who signed the tenant agreement, or a Deed of Guarantee, then you can contact them and request that they pay the arrears.
If the rent has not been paid after 14 days, contact the tenant (and guarantor) again requesting payment.
During these initial stages, it is important to send written correspondence as this can be easily referred to later on should it escalate to court.
What To Do If Your Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent – How To Recover Your Lost Rental Income
Most landlord insurance will include provisions to pay unpaid rent if the tenant falls into arrears. Contact your insurance provider to find out the process for claiming money back that you’re owed.
If the tenancy concludes with outstanding rent payments, you are eligible to deduct any unpaid rent from the deposit. To find out how to do this, contact your tenancy deposit scheme.
What To Do If Your Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent – Taking Further Action
If the tenant falls into two months of arrears, and has made no effort to engage, communicate and remedy the situation, then you may choose to begin eviction proceedings.
You can do this by serving a Section 8 Notice on the grounds of rent arrears. Once served, this may prompt the tenant to pay back their arrears which will invalidate the Section 8 Notice if the claim progressed to court.
Unfortunately, tenants may not pay back rent arrears, and continue to miss payments which will result in claims escalating to court. At this point, the written correspondence you sent earlier on can be relied upon should the tenant challenge the eviction.
The court will require you to prove that you made every effort to inform the tenant of their arrears and provide the chance to repay their arrears.
What To Do If Your Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent – An Alternative To Legal Action Worth Considering
An alternative to legal action that some landlords may choose to talk is to ask the tenant to willingly surrender the tenancy. By doing this, you can cut your losses, and avoid the claim going to court with further costs. This also may save you’re a significant amount of time and enable you to get a more reliable tenant into your rental property sooner.
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