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Some things to remember if problems arise

Becoming a landlord is not always an easy ride and, when renting out your residential property, you could be faced with various problems. For example, tenants may:

  • fall behind with their rent

  • not clean the property

  • leave litter at the property

  • ruin the furniture

  • misuse the property (eg for commercial purposes)

  • have noisy guests and irresponsible parties, or

  • intimidate the neighbours

How you deal with a problem depends on what it is

However, regardless of what the problem is, the best first step is often initiating an open and respectful discussion with your tenant. You could discover, for example, that your tenant is not paying their rent for fair and temporary reasons that you can accommodate by making reasonable arrangements. 

There are some specific things you can do, depending on the type of difficulty, including:

  • if your tenant isn’t paying their rent, you can quickly chase them for any unpaid rent using a Rent demand letter

  • if drug use is suspected, you should end the tenancy

Some important points to remember, include:

  • you can legally terminate a tenancy if a tenant behaves badly (eg if they’re in breach of their Tenancy agreement or occupation contract)

  • you can impose a penalty for late payment of rent (if such is allowed in the tenancy agreement or occupation contract)

  • you must never harass a tenant into leaving a property - always follow legal eviction processes if you want to end a tenancy

How to end a tenancy

Make sure you know how to legally end a tenancy. The conditions and methods for ending a tenancy vary depending on the type of agreement in place, whether both parties agree, and the location of the property. 

If both parties agree, the tenancy can be ended by surrender. For more information, read Surrendering a tenancy.

If a tenant refuses to leave when you ask them to, you must make an application to the court for an order of possession (ie to evict them). Before applying to the court you must serve an appropriate eviction notice. You must also let the prescribed notice period elapse before starting court proceedings. Appropriate eviction notices may include:

For more information, read Repossessing property - section 21 notices and Repossessing property - section 8 notices (for England) or Repossessing property in Wales.

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