Rent arrears, smoking and pets are issues UK landlords face most often

Rent arrears, smoking and pets are issues UK landlords face most often

Failure to pay rent on time, smoking and keeping a pet are the most frequently cited rules broken by tenants in the UK, according to new research.

The study shows that 15% have broken the regulations in their tenancy agreement and it suggests that renters should check the terms of their contract to avoid being caught out.

Overall 65% of tenants stick to the rules, the research from Direct Line Landlord Insurance reveals while 15% claim to have broken the terms and conditions of their rental agreement and a further 9% claim that they don’t have a contract at all.

Some 11% claimed that they were unsure as to whether they had actually broken any of the rules in their contract or not.

Top of broken rules is failing to pay rent on time with 25% doing so, followed by 21% smoking when forbidden, 18% keeping a pet without permission, 17% damaging or making alterations to the property.

Next came changing the locks with 16% admitting to this, then 14% causing disturbances or a nuisance to neighbouring properties, 14% subletting a room without permission, 13% not cleaning windows, and 12% decorating without permission.

The most common sanctions for breaking tenancy rules include losing some or all of the deposit which happened to 52%, followed by 22% having to pay for any damages and in some extreme cases some 4% were evicted. However, 21% of tenants say that the landlord never found out about their misdemeanours.

‘The relationship a tenant has with their landlord can be crucial in the smooth running of a rented property. It is therefore of utmost importance for tenants to keep in touch with their landlords should anything arise that may be in breach of their rental agreement,’ said Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business.

‘Many landlords may be accommodating of requests to have a pet or to make changes to the property, but it is always safest to ask before doing anything to ensure that you are not breaking your contract in the process,’ he pointed out.

‘Tenants who break the rules of their contract can face anything from the loss of their deposit to eviction, so for peace of mind, landlords should ensure they have a watertight legal contract in place to fall back on should anything happen to their property,’ he added.

Direct Line for Business suggests that landlords can ensure that tenants stick to the rules of their contract by being clear from the outset and make sure rules regarding things like smoking and pets are stated in a written tenancy agreement.

It also says that it is a good idea to go through all of the clauses and penalties with the tenants before they sign the agreement to ensure that they are clear on the rules of the tenancy and then maintain a dialogue with tenants as well as making scheduled visits to the property to ensure it is being maintained to a level that was agreed in the contract.

But landlords might also want to be flexible if they have good tenant, for example regarding keeping a pet. A positive relationship is likely to benefit all involved and avoid the time and cost of finding new tenants if an issue becomes a deal breaker.