Like any relationship, the dynamic between a landlord and their tenant can be complicated. Once the let is agreed, the tenancy agreements are bound to have their ups and downs.
Even with the most responsible tenant and the most understanding landlord, there are common problems that arise.
Here we’ll cover eight of these common issues and how to deal with them.
1. BOILER BREAKDOWN
Boiler breakdowns happen and when they do, it means big problems for both the landlord and tenant. Without a working boiler, tenants won’t have hot water or heat and landlords are faced with a big bill.
To avoid this headache, invest in a high-quality, energy-efficient boiler from the get-go. Most newer boiler models are already energy-efficient and come with a warranty that covers you if and when things go wrong. Landlords are required to fix boiler issues as soon as possible.
Once your tenant reports an issue, you have to act fast. You can either fix the problem or replace the boiler, depending on the seriousness of the issue. This falls under your landlord duties which include maintaining working hot water and heating systems.
2. CLOGGED OR MALFUNCTIONING DRAIN
Clogged drains are a common occurrence in bathrooms and kitchens, but who’s responsible for the repair isn’t as clear-cut.
If the clog is caused by something the tenant has done (like poured cooking fat down the drain or allowed excess hair to collect in the shower drain), they may be financially responsible for fixing it.
You’ll need to call in a professional plumber to investigate and find the source of the problem. In a pinch, you can use a drain-cleaning product as a quick-fix but should still get a professional opinion to avoid making the problem worse.
3. ISSUES WITH MAJOR APPLIANCES
Major appliances are a common source of problems for both tenants and landlords. Ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines can all break down at any given moment.
Similar to the boiler, investing in energy-efficient models with an extended warranty can help prevent financial headaches down the road. Avoid cutting corners now because chances are, it’ll end up costing you more in the end.
Landlords are obligated to replace any of the above-mentioned appliances and maintain their proper working order. If the issue is minor, you can simply pay to have it fixed without replacing the entire unit.
4. SIGNS OF MOULD
Mould is one of those issues that landlords and tenants sometimes argue over. The biggest question is, who’s at fault for the presence of dampness and mould? Two things cause mould — excess condensation or a structural issue.
Similar to a clogged drain, you’ll need a professional to identify the root of the problem. Condensation is created when you take hot, steamy showers without proper ventilation, dry clothes without opening the windows, or boiling hot water in the kitchen. Structural issues are the landlord’s responsibility and could’ve been present long before the recent tenant moved in.
To avoid condensation issues, properly ventilate the kitchen and bathroom by opening windows or adding exhaust fans.
Every landlord experiences a dry spell at one time or another when renting out their property. An empty property doesn’t bring in any income, which could create financial woes for you.
Landlords should always financially plan for a few void periods. While you can’t avoid them altogether, it’s best to keep these vacancies to a minimum.
You can achieve this by doing some research before advertising your property. Research the area and the average price of other rental properties like yours.
Pricing it too high will deter potential tenants and pricing it too low might not bring in the income you need to survive. It’s also in your best interest to upkeep your property, both inside and out.
No one wants to rent somewhere that is in disrepair, dirty, or unsightly. Whenever possible, rent to long-term tenants that commit to a longer tenancy agreement. This guarantees income over a longer period of time.
6. LATE RENT PAYMENTS OR NONPAYMENT
Finding tenants isn’t enough. Once they’re moved in, you need to make sure they pay their rent and pay on time. This isn’t always easy. Late payments happen — even to the most responsible and reliable renters.
If your tenant is normally diligent about their payments, find out why they’re late this time before jumping to conclusions.
You should always communicate in writing (text or email) as proof of your conversation. If it’s clear that the missed payment wasn’t a one-time deal, you may need to start the eviction process.
Most areas require 2 months of nonpayment for you to evict.
Avoid going this route by always performing thorough referencing checks before signing an agreement with a tenant. Their past history says a lot about the type of tenant they’ll be.
7. GENERAL WEAR AND TEAR
Wear and tear is another grey area in the relationship between tenants and landlords.
That’s because what qualifies as wear and tear is subject to debate. Some tenants might claim wear and tear while a landlord thinks the issue is actually damage and should come out of the tenant’s security deposit (if they gave one). It’s best to have a third party oversee this debate.
A professional inventory expert will evaluate the property before and after the tenancy and determine the level of wear and tear. A deposit scheme adjuster can also help by evaluating the original condition of the property and calculating what’s considered reasonable and expected use over the duration of the tenancy.
8. LETTING AGENT FEES
It’s common for landlords to use letting agents to help rent and manage their properties. The problem is, some letting agents tack on unnecessary and exorbitant fees that leave the landlord paying out more than they’re bringing in. In some cases, this cost is unfairly passed onto the tenant.
Now both parties are overpaying and the only one winning is the letting agent!
Before hiring a letting agent, do your research. Ask for a list of their letting fees and expenses as well as what services they offer. While it’s often nice to have a middle man as a buffer for tenant issues, it can sometimes complicate the process. Consider hiring an online letting agent for a more seamless & cheaper operation.
How Tenants Have Gotten Revenge on Landlords
The relationship between a landlord and a tenant can be a complicated one. While some landlords and tenants get along splendidly, others argue around every turn.
Landlords have to tread lightly and strike a healthy balance between being understanding and attentive and strict when it comes to rent collection and properly maintaining the property. While some tenants value their security deposits, others don’t care about getting their money back and would rather seek revenge.
Some landlords think the worst thing a disgruntled tenant can do is not pay their rent, but history shows us that there are far worse things a tenant can do. From dead fish hidden throughout the house to changing the locks, here are some of the worst things tenants have ever done to get revenge on their landlords.
Change the Locks on the Backdoors
Changing the locks seems like a silly way to get revenge on your landlord. After all, the landlord will notice immediately and just change them back! Not to mention, this is a costly “prank” to play.
Tenants who are especially bitter may go the extra mile and invest in changing the locks on the backdoors. This is a change that often goes unnoticed for some time.
Hide Unpleasant Items in the House
This is a classic way to get revenge on anyone and a disgruntled landlord is no different. Tenants have been known to hide dead fish, roadkill, and even food behind the radiator or refrigerator, in the ceiling tiles, or under the floorboards.
Some tenants go as far as planting LIVE animals in the house. Creating an ant farm in the attic, releasing mice, or even cockroaches are all spiteful ways to try and get revenge on a landlord.
Tenants who prefer to drive their landlords crazy with noise may purchase obnoxious children’s toys and hide them in inaccessible places.
Spray Paint the Walls
This is a risky way to seek revenge on your landlord since spray painting walls could be considered vandalism.
Landlords expect some wear and tear on the walls including holes from picture hangers, peeling paint, and marks from moving furniture. Spray painting the walls takes things to a whole new level.
Not only is it difficult and expensive to remove, but some tenants leave unpleasant messages letting the landlord know exactly how they feel.
Perform Poor Repair Jobs
Tenants have been known to perform repairs on broken items before moving out. While this might seem like a kind-hearted gesture, disgruntled tenants won’t complete the job fully, correctly, or safely.
For example, tenants might fix a broken piece of furniture using tape or cheap glue. Doing so holds things together long enough for them to receive their security deposit back and then fall apart the minute the new tenants move in.
Tactics like this work so well because once the landlord performs the final walk-through and inventory check, the tenant can no longer be held accountable.
Tenants can also tamper with furniture that’s in good shape. Things like removing springs, hinges, or screws are popular and hard to notice tactics that angry tenants use.
Sign Them Up for Unsolicited Spam
Nothing is worse than receiving endless emails, texts, and phone calls from solicitors. Advertising the landlord’s contact information is one way tenants can aggravate landlords long after their tenancy agreement ends.
Some tenants take to the internet while others make a paper flier and share it around the neighborhood. Sharing the landlord’s office address, email, and phone number will leave them open to hundreds of unsolicited phone calls, texts, and emails.
Give a Sneaky Gift
Some tenants decide to “kill them with kindness” by giving the landlord a gift that’s actually a disaster in disguise!
Filling a wine bottle with water, placing laxatives in brownies, or putting other unsavory items in food or drink is one way tenants can take revenge on their landlord. This is another risky tactic. If the landlord gets sick or injured in the process, the tenant could be held liable.