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Article > Steps to Take to Avoid Late Rent Payments

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The best way for landlords to protect themselves is to avoid picking the wrong tenants in the first place. Yes, it is true that anyone can fall behind with rent – particularly amid economic uncertainty. However, landlords can potentially reduce their risk of being plagued by tenants in arrears by carefully screening their prospective suitors before handing over any contracts.

Jonathan Daines, Co-Founder of offers his top 11 tips for landlords to prevent rental arrears:

1- Tenant Referencing.

As a starting point, you should always attain comprehensive tenant references. These checks will look in detail at a) your prospect’s credit history, b) their employment history and c) a previous landlords reference – allowing you to make an informed judgement as to the risk of them failing to pay up. Some landlords will also request 3 month’s bank statements to show the tenant is able to manage their incomings and outgoings on a monthly basis. Remember, it is industry standard that the tenant pays for the cost of obtaining references – not the landlord.

2- Meet the Tenant at THEIR Property.

Arrange a meeting at the tenant’s own property to discuss the terms of the agreement. This is a fantastic opportunity to see how the tenant lives in another landlord’s property.

3- Google Search.

You would be surprised that just by searching the Internet using either the tenants email address or name could reveal vital information about your tenant. There are a number of ‘name and shame’ websites and forums where victim landlords have offered their tenants details online for the aid of future unsuspecting landlords.

4- Solid Tenancy Agreements.

Create a legal written tenancy agreement and have both parties sign. As above, do not enter into verbal agreements with tenants. Always agree on 1) the rental price 2) payment frequency and 3) length of the agreement

5- Insist on a Break Clause.

It is always easier to evict a tenant using the Section 21 notice once the initial fixed term has expired. If you had signed up to a 3 year agreement, your options would be limited to the Section 8 Notice which is harder to prove.

6- Always have an Inventory.

This document is often overlooked by landlords – particulairy those that let “unfurnished” property. They are under the misconception that because there are no furniture items in the property, there is no need for an inventory. This is wrong, you should list ALL items in the property that the eye can see from carpets on the floor to lightshades on the ceiling.

7- Treat your Let as a Business and try to remove the emotional aspect from the transaction.

This is more difficult for landlords letting our their own home for undertsandable reasons.

8- Visit the Tenant Quarterly.

It is your right to be able to visit the property to carry out an inspection. Just be mindful that visiting too frequently, i.e. once a month could be seen as harrasment in the eys of thew law – remember, the tenant has the right to “quiet enjoyment” of the property. Every 3 months is ideal. You must send the tenant a letter to confirm your appointment and it must be received no earlier than 24 hours in advance.

9- Keep the Rent Under Market Value.

Quite simply, if the tenant feels that they are getting a good deal on their property, they will be more inclined to pay the rent and to stay longer.

10- Rent Guarantee Insurance.

Landlords have a superb opportunity to mitigate any rental arrears with rent guarantee insurance. This is an insurance product which has been specifically created to support landlords in the event that the tenant is unable to pay their rent. includes rent guarantee in their “Platinum” service which means that the landlord will be guaranteed up to £10,000 per month as well as up to £25,000 help with legal fees.

11- Communicate Regularily with your Tenant.

It is best to have open lines of communication with your tenants. If you notice that the rent is a day late, pick up the phone and have a frank conversation with them and try to find out if they are experiencing any financial issues. Talking to a landlord recently, I was impressed with a solution to help the tenant with their finances but at the same time, ensured the landlord got paid and that was to increase the frequency of payments – i.e. instead of once a month, the tenant agreed to pay once a week which she found easier to manage.

Considering the risks and the severe knock-on implications that rent arrears can have, landlords should simply remember that one can never be too careful.



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