According to a 2015 article in The Guardian, over 17,000 tenants believe that they’re being harassed by private landlords. In some cases, these issues are elevated to the courts, with landlords facing lawsuits due to harassment.
Landlords have a fine line to tread when renting out their property. On one hand, you want to protect your investment so it’s natural that you want to check up on the state of your property. On the other, doing so to excess means you’re invading your tenant’s privacy.
Do you want to know how to strike the right balance? Then follow out tips to ensure you don’t end up harassing tenants.
Tip #1 – Don’t Enter the Property Without Asking
Just picture the scene. You’re settling in for a nice evening at home after work. Maybe you’ve decided to skip the washing up so you can relax. Suddenly, somebody comes into your home uninvited. You’re not prepared for the intrusion, and you’ve had your privacy invaded.
That’s what happens whenever you enter your investment property without making your tenants aware of your visit in advance.
Yes, it’s your property and you have a right to ensure it’s being well-maintained. However, your tenants also have a right to privacy that you must respect. Don’t intrude on them without asking. This is especially important if your tenant lives alone, and you’re of the opposite gender.
Tip #2 – Don’t Interfere With Your Tenant’s Life
When it comes to their responsibilities to you, your tenants have a duty to maintain your property and live in accordance with the tenancy agreement. Beyond that, you have absolutely no say in how they choose to live their lives.
Do not tell tenants what they should be doing unless they’re in direct violation of the tenancy agreement. This includes things like telling them to clean up the property more often, or preventing them from having guests over.
This can get difficult, especially if your tenants enter rent arrears. Nevertheless, resist the temptation to interfere in their lives. Don’t cut off services, and continue to act in accordance with your side of the tenancy agreement. This places you in a much stronger legal position, should you need to make a legal claim for the rent. It also means that your tenants can’t claim to have not paid due to harassment or your failure to provide services.
Tip #3 – Record Your Visits and Contact
To ensure you have accurate records to back up any claims that you make in the case of a harassment allegation, maintain accurate documentation of every visit you make to the property. Furthermore, keep copies of any letters that you send. Your aim is to show that you have no acted outside of your rights when dealing with your tenants.
It should go without saying that you must stay professional in all communications. Do not swear or shout at your tenants when talking to them. Do everything by the book and you won’t have to worry about harassment claims.
If you need help with property management in London, contact Hills Estate. Our team will ensure your property offers everything that tenants need.