It’s always best to keep landlord-tenant relationships as friendly and open as possible, but of course sometimes things go wrong.
Since 2010 the number of landlords evicting tenants has consistently increased. In 2014 alone, there was 161,300 total landlord repossession claims issued (Direct.gov).
We’ve put together a list of how to stay in ‘model tenant’ territory, so you don’t have to worry about becoming part of these statistics.
1. Be Informed On Legal Aspects Of Being A Tenant
Firstly – and perhaps most importantly – know what type of tenancy agreement you are signed up for.
A fixed tenancy will ensure you can live in the property until a fixed date, and are usually renewed on a six or twelve month basis.
If your tenancy goes from month to month (or sometimes even week to week) this is known as a periodic tenancy. Your landlord is within their rights to begin eviction proceedings at the end of your tenancy agreement.
Make sure you know what type of agreement you have in place and only agree to move into a property if you’re happy with this agreement.
Tip: If your tenancy began after 1st April 2007 and doesn’t have a definite fixed period mentioned, then your tenancy is guaranteed for a six month period.
Another legal aspect you need to be aware of is breaching the tenancy agreement.
This could include anything from damage to the property to failure to pay rent, overstaying your term agreement or subletting the property without appropriate permission. Make sure you carefully read your tenancy agreement and adhere to it completely. It is a legal document and is there to protect you as much as your landlord and the property.
2. Look After The Property (Neglect)
Landlords have the right to evict tenants if they fail to upkeep the property to a reasonable standard. Sometimes damage happens by accident and landlords are accepting of this, simply let them know and a good landlord should pay to have the damage repaired. Alternatively you could repair the damage yourself; if you are confident you can carry it out safely and properly.
If you are having difficulty paying for the upkeep of your house you may be entitled to a grant to help you cover these costs. See your local housing authority for more information, or contact your local Ellis & Co office
3. Pay Your Bills On Time (Arrears)
Not surprisingly, rent arrears are the most common reason for eviction. Make sure you can afford to pay for a property in the long term before moving in.
Take into consideration unaccounted for one-off costs and lifestyle expenses such as car insurance and holidays – can you still afford to cover the rent? If the answer is anything other than ‘absolutely’, then you should avoid going for that property in the first place.
4. Be A Good Neighbour (Antisocial Behaviour)
Nobody wants an antisocial neighbour. If your landlord is informed of antisocial activity from you, somebody living with you or even somebody associated with your property, you could well find yourself on the path to eviction.
Communication is key. As with any problem, don’t ignore it and expect it to go away; chat with your landlord. Inform them if you think your neighbour has (or will) report you for antisocial behaviour unfairly or maliciously.
Try to iron out any issues with your neighbours directly, a small token of peace offering can often go a very long way in such disputes. Above all, be the courteous neighbour you’d want to have living next door to you.
5. Be Present (Landlord Suspects Property Is Vacant)
Your landlord is entitled to start the eviction process if they have reason to believe you aren’t living in the property. If you plan on living away from your home for an extended period of time - but still wish to remain a tenant there – you should inform your landlord of this. Perhaps you will be working away or going travelling for a while.
If you want to remain a tenant you should of course keep up with all rent and utility bills during this period. If you are living at the property but the landlord mistakes the property as being vacant, you can use utility bills to demonstrate your occupancy.
Most of these points are common sense; however if you are worried that your tenant-landlord relationship is on the rocks, or you’d like some advice, contact your local Ellis & Co branch