Cutting off the gas supply, changing the locks and even taking out the windows – landlords have resorted to all of these tactics in order to get rid of non-paying tenants.
These are extreme measures that we definitely don’t advise here at Clan Gordon. Not only will they infuriate your tenants and sever any cordial relations you had between you and the tenant but, crucially, these actions are also against the law.
At Clan Gordon we believe that for everyone involved it’s always better to take a more measured approach.
If your tenant hasn’t paid their rent for a month, or are several days late, then there’s lots you can do without anyone getting stressed. You could, for instance:
Go and have a chat with your tenant to see if you can find out why they’re late with their payment.
They may have forgotten, or were changing banks and the DD instruction hasn’t gone through yet. In other words, there could be a very simple reason for the delay.
If the reason the payment is late, it could be because they have been made redundant or have been off work sick for weeks and have fallen behind in all payments.
In both cases you could reduce the rent for a few months until they are back on their feet and then add the shortfall to later payments over the long-term.
If the reason they are late with the payment is because they don’t get paid until a few days after the rent is due, then you could always alter the date. At the same time, ask your mortgage provider if you can move your payment date to coincide with this.
Most buy to let mortgage providers will usually happily oblige moving dates within the same month.
Show how easy it is for your tenant to pay you by direct debit or standing order. That way they don’t even have to think about it – it just comes off their bank account automatically.
You can, of course, protect yourself against late payment which leads to non-payment for that month, by putting into place some ‘security blankets.’ This could include asking for a signed guarantor when the lease is being made up (which is common for student tenancies).
You could also consider taking out landlords’ insurance which protects you against non-payment.
It will put a little more onto the cost of your premiums but it can save you quite a bit in the event of non-payment.
Having said that, we should point out here that non-payment and late payment of rent is rare.
The majority of tenants pay their rent on time and give their landlord no difficulties at all throughout the period of their lease.
In fact, provided you respect your tenant by communicating with them well, and managing repairs or their concerns in a timely and reasonable manner, you shouldn’t have any problems with payment.
That’s because if any rental payment problems do arise, chances are you and your tenant will be able to come to an agreement.
And, more importantly, the tenant won’t be afraid to tell you about money concerns; meaning you can manage any potential difficulties before they get out of control.