Thu 16 Feb 2017 View all news articles

What if my tenant doesn't pay the rent?

In my eleven years’ experience I have visited thousands of different properties and encountered countless individual landlords, though one recurring question that is posed time and time again is: “What happens if my tenant doesn’t pay the rent?”

It’s a fair question, and it’s not unusual for it to be the most common that I encounter. If rent is not being received, it makes the whole process of being a landlord counter-productive. Many first time landlords are wary of this possibility and as such will instruct a letting agent to manage their property, who will take the necessary steps in such an outcome. A good agent will usually pick up on arrears early and make some enquiring calls to your tenant once noticed. Often it can be a simple mistake or oversight, such as failing to set up a standing order or a bank error. However if such calls or reminders have fallen on deaf ears, then a formal 7 day letter should be sent. If after 14 days no remedy has been forthcoming, a secondary letter should be delivered, warning the tenant that if the arrears are not resolved legal action will be taken. Another option to consider at this stage is whether or not your tenant has a guarantor in place. Now guarantors are not standard for every tenancy, and often only required by a referencing company and a letting agent if your tenant has experienced financial implications in the past, such a CCJ. However if your tenant has a guarantor in place, now is a good time to also pursue them for the outstanding rent.

A third and final letter may be needed in some cases, though if your tenant has gone a whole month without paying rent and another month is now due, you can consider your tenant to be in two months arrears and that is the trigger for you to now have the right under the Housing Act 1988 to take the necessary steps to claim back possession of your property. 

A Section 8 notice is the first of those necessary steps. This is a notice, hand delivered by your agent advising that you intend to them take them to court if payment is not made within 14 days of receipt of the notice. Beware, as cases can be thrown out as the notice is deemed to be invalid if it has not be served in the prescribed format, though a diligent agent should not fall foul of this. If the court decides that your submission is valid they will grant you a possession order allowing you to take your property back.

Now to some new to-be landlords this process may sound daunting, and sometimes no matter whether the property has been filled with good tenants, it has been managed by an agent or yourself, certain things can happen out of the agents or you as the landlord’s control. However a great safety net to have in place to protect you against such problems is ‘Rent Guarantee and Legal Insurance’. You can read more about this under our ‘Professional Landlord Section’. 

To finish I must counsel that for us here at Karl Tatler Lettings, such encounters are rare. We take extreme care and caution to ensure we have secured the right tenant for all of our landlords. With the use of a stringent and thorough referencing company and our partnership with the Experian Rental Exchange we have provisions more than most, in place to combat and prevent such issues, essentially, putting out fires before they happen is the sign of a good agent!

To speak to our expert team about renting out a property, please call 0151 342 5777. Alternatively, you can arrange a free market appraisal here.

As leading Wirral estate agents and lettings agents we have plenty to talk about and like to give our opinions on a few things too! Read about what we have to say, our latest news and industry news.