The main causes of landlord / tenant disputes in rented accommodation are damage and cleaning, therefore without a thorough inventory in place (at check-in and check-out) landlords have much less chance of winning a dispute if they have no detailed evidence of the original condition of the property.
2. Ensure your Agreements are correct.
Double check dates and rental amounts.
Be able to provide up to date Gas Safety Certificates, along with EPC’s & PAT testing (where necessary) to prove that your property and its contents is safe.
3. Deposit Protection.
If you take deposits, register them with one of the three government-backed Tenancy Deposit Schemes;
– Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
– Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
4. Tenants need to be made aware of their contractual obligations.
Ask them if there’s anything they don’t understand in the tenancy agreement. And don’t forget to make them aware of the utility bills and any other costs that they are liable for.
5. Make it clear what costs are involved e.g. administration fees, referencing, etc.
Conduct thorough tenant referencing procedures, making sure that you obtain references from the tenants’ previous landlord(s). Speaking to someone first hand can tell you so much more than a simple credit report can, and can sometimes reveal whether the tenant has ever had a dispute in a previous tenancy, therefore helping you to gauge their character.
Ensure that your property is in good repair and fit for rental.
Encourage tenants to report any problems with the property as soon as they occur, thus avoiding more costly problems in the future.
Regular inspections not only flag up maintenance issues but can also tell you whether there are unauthorised individuals living in the property, that are not listed on the tenancy agreement. Subletting is not usually allowed within residential tenancies, and unchecked tenants could also cause disputes with neighbouring properties e.g. noise.
9. Establish a good line of communication with your tenant and try to remain calm and professional at all times.
If things do start to escalate make sure that you record all interactions with the tenant (texts, emails, etc) and where possible have a witness present if you are dealing with them face-to-face.
10 .Always give tenants the required notice before entering the property, as then there can be no dispute over unauthorised entry.Landlords want a happy tenant who pays their rent consistently and looks after the property. So it is always best to do your utmost to avoid disputes, as they can be extremely stressful, tiresome and expensive.