Top Tips to Avoid & Assist with Rent Arrears for Landlords
HC Property Net (Wokingham) Ltd spent time recently completing an online course "Attending County Court small claim procedures" - this is due to the consistently changing pandemic and government guidelines for landlords & tenants. Whilst a lot of the content was in-depth and would usually involve the services of a Solicitor at the point of Court we did pick out some good information for landlords to consider when opting for new tenants, how to deal with arrears and how HC Property Net (Wokingham) Ltd can assist in the times of mediation.
Here is our guide to avoiding rent arrears and how to deal with them should they occur.
I. Always ensure a prospective is fully referenced. Do NOT fall for sad stories or people in an immediate hurry to move without looking at the detail behind it. If and when there is poor credit history find out what it is for and ALWAYS get a suitable guarantor who is to also be fully referenced.
II. Ideally the rental on the property should NOT exceed around 30% of someone's wages. If you have a tenant on Housing Benefit/Universal credit check their previous history with a landlord to ensure they were paid regularly and in full.
III. If and when arrears start keep on top of them. Once the rent is 7 days late make a call to the tenant.
If that is ignored within 24 hours send an email. If these are both ignored it is usually a good sign a
tenant has buried their head and has financial difficulty therefore show some sympathy and send a
letter offering your ear, advice and your able to support them but they do need to communicate with
IV. HC Property Net (Wokingham) Ltd spent considerable time at the first lockdown in March 2020 writing a payment plan process for landlords and tenants and offered a mediation and payment plan service. This has been adapted for any future lockdown's and for general usage - contact us for advice on what we can offer. We had over 15 claims in the first lockdown and managed to mediate and sort all of them, we had no one in severe arrears with rental and obtained the help the tenants needed to see them through these difficult times with suitable payment plans or advice to ensure their rental was paid. This ensured the landlords were paid but supported tenants genuinely needing help at this time.
V. If you have no option but to consider court action obviously ensure your correct notices are issued to the tenant and be sure you have looked at the current legislation on notice periods which stands today at 6 months notice except in extreme circumstances (we can provide these circumstances if required).
VI. If your tenants are not in contact at all you must complete a LETTER BEFORE CLAIM. This is important for you as a landlord to ensure this is followed - we do have a guidance list on what information this letter before claim should entail.
VII. You can apply to the court online www.moneyclaim.gov.uk however, we strongly advise if you are not experienced and do not know the law in terms of possession please use a Solicitor it will save you time and money in the long run.
VIII. Before you apply to the courts consider your reason for doing so. Having people owe money is a mass frustration but consider the cost involved, consider if they have any money at all should you win judgement, are you sure mediation has been exhausted and this is the only option left to you.
Please ensure that as a landlord you know or find out the legislation and order of following guidance before taking a tenant to court - Sometimes tenants just need a little help and guidance - stay open minded - consider what you can do to help them first and exhaust all options to both parties before taking the next stage.
#keepingitreal #staysafe #sometimespeoplejustneedguidance