Complete Clarity Solicitors


Failure to Check can Cause Problems for Landlords

The failure to carry out basic checks on prospective tenants is leaving many UK landlords exposed to potential risks and problems, according to insurance company AXA.

AXA’s research found that almost 60% of tenants admit to breaking the terms of their rental agreement, and a third had broken the law in relation to their rental. In particular:

  • 26% of tenants pay their rent late (equivalent to 2,158,000 tenants nationwide),
  • one in ten tenants admit to having done a moonlight flit to avoid paying the landlord money (equivalent to 830,000 tenants nationwide),
  • 18% have kept pets in the property without the landlord’s permission (equivalent to 1,494,000 tenants nationwide),
  • 15% have received complaints from neighbours for excessive noise (equivalent to 1,245,000 tenants nationwide), and
  • 8% have sub-let to someone else without the landlord’s permission (equivalent to 664,000 tenants nationwide).

AXA warns that while the responsibilities on landlords to keep their houses in order are getting stricter, many are still failing to carry out any checks on their tenants or even visit their properties at all.

In addition, despite many landlords relying on rental income to cover expenses such as mortgage payments and basic living costs, few of them check if their tenants have the means to pay their rent. Just under a third of landlords: a) carry out a credit check (31%), b) ask for employer references (27%), or c) ask for references from previous landlords (29%).

Tenancy agreements are also an important part of the picture, giving the landlord a firm foundation to evict non-paying tenants or claim damages for financial loss caused by the tenant. It’s therefore good to hear that according to AXA, landlords are getting better on this front – this year’s study revealed that 75% of rentals are now based on a formal agreement, compared to just 52% at the beginning of 2013.

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