Our real rentals series shares pitfalls that can occur if care and attention are not applied when setting up and managing a rental agreement.
When tenants fail to look after your property
A key reason landlords seek the services of a property management agency is to achieve peace of mind that, should anything start to go wrong, the agency will deal with it effectively.
But sadly, some agencies fail to maintain high-quality levels in their service delivery. This can lead to a worst-case scenario for landlords, such as having a tenant in situ who mistreats a property, compounded by an agency that fails to report or deal with the issue.
What happens when effective property management fails?
We were recently contacted by a landlord who felt concerned that a tenant was not taking care of a property. They were also very disappointed by the level of service they were receiving from their current property management agency.
M A S O N S agreed to take on the property. One of our first actions was to conduct a full property inspection. Sadly, the news wasn’t great. We had to report that a significant amount of damage was evident and that the tenant was clearly unsuitable.
If the previous agency had undertaken regular inspections (we recommend at least every 4 months), this issue would possibly have been picked up much earlier.
On reviewing the existing tenancy agreement, another issue came to light. The tenant had received a county court judgment (CCJ), which meant a rent guarantor had been established as part of the agreement. However, a little more digging revealed that the appointed guarantor did not actually meet the minimum income threshold to fulfil this role (by a significant margin). This placed the landlord in a vulnerable position in terms of ensuring monthly rental payments were protected.
We needed to act quickly to rectify these errors, remove the current tenant and return the property back to a marketable state.
What M A S O N S did
We worked with the landlord on four key resolutions:
- Contacting the property agency (a national high street chain) to call out their poor property management, which had failed to spot the issue.
- Pursuing the release of the landlord from the agency agreement.
- Serving notice to the tenant to vacate the property.
- Supporting the tenant to ensure they understood that they needed to leave by the expiry of the notice.
The outcome for the landlord was very positive. He severed the agency agreement early without incurring fees and used a security deposit to fund the repair and redecoration of the property.
Fortunately, the tenant vacated the property within the two-month notice period. We say, fortunately, as if a tenant refuses to vacate a property, much more complex, drawn-out (and costly) processes are involved. We also quickly found a great new tenant, who was able to occupy the property within two weeks – keeping the rent gap to a minimum for the landlord.
If you’re a landlord and you have concerns over the current level of service you’re receiving, please do contact M A S O N S. Our professional inspection schedule and our attention to detail when establishing new tenancy agreements are in place to avoid situations like this happening!