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Buy-to-let gone bad: five hallmarks of a bad landlord

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More than half of tenants have had a problem with their landlord or letting agent in the last five years. Here are the most common ways that buy-to-let goes bad.

A recent report by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) found more than one-in-five renting Brits had concerns about their landlord or letting agent, a percentage that rocketed to 43% amongst Londoners.

For 37% of tenants disputes led to additional stress and 16% have spent sleepless nights worrying.

If you’re a landlord, these are the five most common ways to find yourself in trouble with your tenants:

Take your time fixing any problems

Some 31% of tenants had dealt with a landlord dragging his or her feet when it came to essential home repairs like broken boilers, heating and electricity. On average tenants had to wait 36 days for the problem to be resolved, but those were the lucky ones: one in seven never saw the problem sorted.

Let your property go to pot

Someone else may be living there, but upkeep on your buy-to-let property is still your responsibility. According to ARLA’s research 18% of renters complained about landlords who let their kitchen cupboards, carpets and other fixtures go without replacing for far too long.

Be a bad listener

It’s amazing how much good will simply listening will foster. One-in-seven tenants told ARLA that their complaints had fallen on deaf ears, a big black mark against the landlord in question.

Break your promises

If you want your tenant to respect you and your property, you have to show them respect in return. If you promise to do something you have to keep your word or they’ll have no reason to go above and beyond to keep your home in a good state, pay their rent on time or renew their lease.

Accuse them of causing damage 

A shocking 11% of tenants said their landlords had accused them of causing damage that had been there when they had moved in or that was clearly the result of standard wear-and-tear.

For nearly one in 10 this led directly to an unfair loss of deposit, particularly galling since 14% of tenants spent their own money sprucing up their rental property.

David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said: “Our home is our castle and there is no reason it should not be fit for a king. Just because you rent a property it should not impact your levels of enjoyment, especially as there is such a high price to pay for renting.”


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