Tenants Are Not Paying Rent - What Can I Do?

One of the biggest worries for landlords in the UK is tenants who don't pay their rent. At best, dealing with rent nonpayment may be time-consuming and upsetting. At worst, it may determine whether a landlord is able to make their monthly mortgage or fall into arrears.

When it comes to evicting someone who doesn't pay their rent, it is vital for you to be aware of your rights as well as the rights of the renter. It is crucial to closely follow the necessary steps and to keep comprehensive records of your interactions with your renter.

If you are unsure of how to handle a renter who isn't paying rent, keep reading for the step-by-step guide by the tenancy experts at AST Assistance.

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Keep track of your rent payments.

Having effective systems in place that track payments is beneficial, even if no issue arises. Particularly if you have many tenants, keeping track of when rent is due and paid, and issuing dated receipts each month will allow you to oversee payments easier.

If you choose to begin eviction procedures, you will need copies of every transaction involving rent payments, so compiling these in preparation for such circumstances will put you in a better position to start the process.

Keeping track of rent arrears can be complicated and seem stressful. See what your rights are as a landlord with rent arrears here.

Speak with your tenants

If your tenant does not pay their rent on time, you should instigate communication with them instead of waiting for correspondence on their side.

Ask them why they failed to pay by the deadline; they could be experiencing a short-term problem that has impacted their cash flow, and you may be able to work out a solution with them.

In some cases, it can be worthwhile to be accommodating of their current situation if they have historically been a good tenant.

Additionally, you could advise them to look into other assistance options, such as requesting housing assistance or seeking debt counselling.

If you are struggling to get in touch with them, you should consider employing an intermediary or party that will act as the first point of contact on your behalf.

Tenant failed to pay rent within 14 days

If you cannot contact them by message or phone, send a letter informing them that you intend to take back control of your property if they fail to pay the rent within 14 days of the due date.

Tenant failed to pay rent within 21 days

If they have still not paid their rent after 21 days, follow up with another letter; making efforts to get in touch with them and following up could help your case should you wish to take legal action.

Send the guarantor a letter

After 14 days past the rent due date, you should write to the tenant's guarantor if they have one. When the renter is 21 days in arrears and the issue hasn't been handled, write to the guarantor once more.

Whilst this might seem fruitless and frustrating, attempting to communicate with them will allow you to take more serious measures.

Take back ownership of your property

Your renter is considered to be two months in arrears after the rent is one month past due and the subsequent month's payment is now due. If this is the case, you may now start the procedure for the repossession of your property.

You have two options for evicting tenants with guaranteed shorthold tenancies under the Housing Act of 1988: a Section 8 or a Section 21 notice.

Section 8 notification

Your tenant has violated the terms of their rental agreement by failing to pay their rent, thus you may give them a Section 8 notice at any time throughout the tenancy.

You must be prepared with proof of overdue rent and your efforts to address the matter because your renter can contest the eviction.

A Section 21 notification

Technically speaking, a Section 21 notice is not an eviction. By serving a Section 21 on your renter, you are informing them that you plan to reclaim the property. Currently, you can use Section 21 to give notice of possession, without providing a reason, at the end of a fixed-term tenancy or at any time during a periodic tenancy with no fixed end date.

You should note that in the 2022-23 legislative session, a bill to end "no-fault" section 21 evictions in the private leased sector was promised in the Queen's Speech of 2022.

You should seek professional advice if you are uncertain about which notice to serve.

Court action for unpaid rent

You have the right to file a lawsuit to evict your renter since they have not complied with your requests to pay rent. Additionally, you are entitled to compensation from your renter for any arrears and reasonable fees spent.

However, this method can be costly and requires numerous legal procedures to be followed exactly. A failure to comply with any of the steps could result in severe delays in action taken or a judge ruling against you.

Help for landlords with unpaid rent problems

To understand your options when your tenant is not paying rent and ensure that you are following the best possible procedures, get in touch with experts in tenancy law, such as the specialist team at AST Assistance.

Call us now on 01706 619 954, email info@ast-assistance.com, or fill out our contact form here and we will get back at a convenient time with advice.

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