Rent Arrears - Landlord Rights

Date Published 31 August 2018

Being a landlord can be rewarding & a great source of income, but it also comes with risks. Before letting your property to tenants, you should be aware of your rights as a landlord.

It`s important to vet your tenants before moving them into your property. Any good letting agent will reference any potential tenants to make sure they have good credit & ensure that they`re unlikely to default on the rent. It`s recommended that your tenants also have a guarantor that you can go to in the unlikely event that they do fall behind with the rent.

Should your rent fall into arrears there are a few steps you can take when it comes to trying to get it.
1. Keep a record of all payments. You should keep a record of all payments that have been made & what dates these were made on.
2. Write to your tenant. If after several days the rent hasn`t been paid you should write to tenant with a formal demand for the rent. This should be delivered by first class mail.
3. Write to the guarantor. If after 14 days you still haven`t received the outstanding rent, send the tenants guarantor a letter informing them that the tenant hasn`t paid the rent. This may push the tenant into action.
4. Take possession of your property. If the tenant has gone a whole month without paying rent & another rent is due, you can now consider your tenants to be 2 months in arrears. You then have the right, under The Housing Act 1988, to claim possession of your property. Serving a section 8 will inform your tenant that you intend to take them to court if they don`t pay within a further 14 days.
5. Court action. If your tenant doesn`t respond to your demands for rent, you are entitled to take legal action to seek possession of your property. You can also ask the court to make a judgement against your tenant for the arrears of rent & reasonable costs incurred. If you do act and do get a judgement against the tenant, you will have 6 years in which to enforce it.
Hopefully you will never need to follow these steps but it`s always a good idea to be aware of your rights as a landlord.