8 things that annoy landlords

annoyed landlordLike any relationship, the dynamic between a landlord and their tenant can be complicated. 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.

5. Vacancies

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. 


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