As landlords for the past 11 years with 2 properties and tenants ourselves for 10 of those years whilst living abroad, we've had our fair share of fun and drama.
We're still chasing a deposit refund from the last property we rented. The agents came with a pre filled in form to charge us for repainting the front door as it sat in direct sunlight, to change the locks, clean and repaint. All decided before they walked through the door, they also claimed air conditioning units we had NO access to were damaged.
The re decorating costs were removed due to it being a new build and there being settlement cracks, but we have no right of reply to the other issues and apparently they will need to clean the house after they've got it ready for new tenants. they don't seem to see the problem there, that is we returned it clean, it's not our fault they will dirty the house when decorating.
In another property they deducted gardening costs because they didn't rent the house back out until 2 months after our contract ended.
We've had 2 lots of tenants from hell with our family home that we're now back living in and a tenant in our flat in Wales who left a month early, left the hot water and heating on full blast, left junk behind, didn't pay the last months rent or bother cleaning and failed to report water damage as well as damaging the tiles behind the shower.
We've had 3 sets of rental agents. the first ones sold the business and shifted the management of our property. The tenants weren't paying on time from day 1, but the agent paid us and played catch up with the tenants until he could no longer afford it. We ended up going right to wire with a Section 21a, application for bailiffs and application for police to attend.
During this time they failed to pay rent and they broke the oven and I was forced, by law, to buy a new one. The agents did nothing to support the eviction and when I retained the deposit, the agent took their fee for the time I'd been spending a fortune in the courts to evict. All I could do to recover my money was to make a claim through the small claims court, which would've cost me more money.
The second agents found us a couple of good tenants, but the last lot, moved into a freshly painted house, then after 18 months demanded it was repainted as it was in a state and threatened to withhold rent. I stood my ground and said no, so then they threatened to sue me for a friend tripping in the kitchen. During their tenancy we had the really cold weather and the boiler broke down. I provided them with money to purchase 2 fan heaters and informed them they had an emersion tank to heat the water, while they waited a week for the new boiler. They tried to claim the additional electricity costs from me, until it was pointed out, I wasn't obliged to provide them with anything for the week. Finally they claimed the building was a fire risk due to insufficient fire safety doors on the top floor. i was able to prove to the agents that they were and they had put themselves at risk, as well as my house by removing the automatic fire closures and doors.
On this occasion the agents failed to take sufficient photographs and didn't date them and were late submitting evidence of damage to the Deposit Protection Scheme and I received less than 50% back of the deposit. The agents also sent in a painter and decorator and signed off his work without checking it. The decorator used emulsion paint on doors, skirting boards and walls, despite being paid to gloss the woodwork, repair holes in the wall and fit doors, that we had to refit. We were also charged a fortune to have the rubbish removed of which we received no reimbursement for and I had to replace fence panels, damaged by Ivy from next door that had been allow to grow over.
The agents were clearly on the side of the tenants, from speaking to the neighbours after both sets, they said they were foul mouthed and intimidating. Weirdly though despite the neighbours telling me how much of a problem both sets caused with their teenage sons and noise, they failed to let me know via the email address they had for me.
The latest debarcle is a single bloke in our flat in Wales, he left a month early without paying rent. He left behind the things he didn't want, he left the place filthy and failed to report water damage after a leak. I only found out he'd left because the council tax got in touch. He did give meter readings to his energy provider but left the hot water and heaters on full blast. He handed the keys back to the agents who failed to join the dots and on their recommendation I agreed for someone else to move in the following week.
After a visit to the flat on the weekend, the tenant has been relocated to another property and I'm now searching for a plumber and tiler to sort the bathroom out so we can re let it (with new agents) They failed to do an exit inspection for over a week and I'm now chasing up the deposit plus additional costs so I'm not out of pocket. There is a huge difference between wear and tear and wilful neglect and damage.
Over the years I've searched for advice from other landlord, solicitors, from Citizens advice etc. All I've ever found is information on what a tenant can do to protect themselves from bad landlords, including advice on how to get rehoused if they can't pay the rent, to how they can withhold rent if the landlord fails to ensure their home meets minimum adequate requirements. For landlords the information available is about what the landlord is legally required to do.
I asked in a facebook group if anyone had experience as a landlord with bad tenants and how, if at all, they resolved the issues.
I explained the flat was damp, but the tenant had failed to inform me or the agents, therefore I was unable to make repairs.
Responses ranged from:
You shouldn't rent out a property that's in bad repair and poorly maintained (it wasn't when the tenant moved in a year ago)
Yep, same here, just had to write the losses off. (Done this too many times)
That's what the rent is for. (Rent received covers insurances, maintenance fees and is taxable as an income, in some instances there are mortgages to be paid)
We had bad landlords, the law is on their side, the tenant always loses out (I could send endless links for what help and support they could get in enforce the landlord fixing these issues)
You could try small claims court (It'll cost money and you might get back £5 a month, but you still have to pay for the work to be done) or just put it down to bad experience.
Make sure you get proper references and entry exit inventories and put the deposit in the tenancy deposit scheme. (Done that, at the cost of at least £500 per let period)
In my opinion the rental agents should do more. They find the tenants, arrange the references, organise entry and exit inventories, carry out inspections and can arrange for repairs to be carried out if informed by the tenant. For this they charge an arrangement fee, charge 10% monthly for collecting rent and bill you directly for all the above.
The rental agents don't check on the quality of the work carried out, they don't challenge the tenant to make any repairs themselves and deem everything as wear and tear and if a tenant does break something they only advise the landlord that they can ask for costs towards a replacement. They just rush from tenant to tenant, they say people are desperate for accommodation and said we could clean the damp, patch the tiles and move the tenant in.
That's not how we work as landlords, sorry if you've had a rough time as a tenant, this isn't the forum to tell me how brilliant you are as a tenant and how bad your landlords have been. But if you've had bad tenants and are looking for somewhere to vent your frustrations, please feel free to visit the comments section.