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5 Things You Shouldn’t Do As A Landlord

Understanding Landlord Etiquette

Found yourself strapped for cash and wanting to earn more? You’ve probably considered becoming a landlord and letting other people reside in your property. 

In order to be successful as a landlord, you have to know what makes a “good” landlord. It’s not as simple as letting someone live in your home or for them to temporarily stay there for a holiday. Granted, while you’ll need to get to know the people who’ll be owing you money, there are some basic pieces of social etiquette that needs to be followed. Here is a list of things you can’t do as a landlord: 

1. Discriminate 

An absolute no-brainer, under no circumstances should you be hostile towards tenants or reject possible ones. GOV.uk specifies that it’s against the law to discriminate individuals on the following grounds: 

  • Age 
  • Gender reassignment (being or becoming a transgender person) 
  • Being married or in a civil partnership 
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave 
  • Disability 
  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin) 
  • Religion, belief, or lack of religion/belief 
  • Sex/gender 
  • Sexual orientation 

However, it’s perfectly reasonable to “lawfully discriminate”; for example, if a tenant has poor credit history or cannot afford the rent, these are justified reasons to be more critical for once. After all, you do want them to pay you on time, don’t you? 

2. Refuse to make any repairs 

Now, how would you like it if you were living in someone else’s home – or just staying at a hotel – and you came across something that desperately needed to be fixed? Obviously, you have no obligation to do it yourself, not to mention you might not even be qualified to deal with it anyway. You’ll find yourself asking someone who is allowed to do so… but they never do it. You might follow it up and repeat what you said, but still, nothing comes about it. 

As a landlord, you have to make repairs if something is damaged, broken, or just not right. In fact, it’s against the law if you don’t repair your letting property. It’s covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985; Section 11, to be precise. If you do avoid making those repairs, you may be avoiding those tasks as a way to make it difficult for your tenants to stay, hoping that they’re going to leave. This passive-aggressive discriminatory behaviour is not allowed. You’re also not allowed to make up your own rules just because you and a tenant might not get along or you’ve had some form of disagreement. As covered in the previous point, you mustn’t discriminate your tenants, whether it involves the listed reasons for discrimination or not. 

3. Enter without permission 

Let’s say you’re relaxing at home. You might be reading the newspaper or watching the television as you unwind. All is going fine. That is, until someone suddenly enters the room – or even your house, for that matter – despite you not granting them access to it. You’d be annoyed, wouldn’t you? 

Now imagine that the person who was keeping to themself was your tenant. The person who disturbed their peace was you. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Indeed, it’s not very pleasant. Just because you own the property doesn’t mean you should suddenly come barging in with no prior warning. If you are to enter, you must give at least 24 hours’ notice at the very least. If you want to have privacy, so should your tenant. There is nothing worse than an unwanted and uninvited houseguest. 

4. Constantly messaging the tenant 

Desperately need that rent from your tenant? Are they running late with it, perhaps again? Are you constantly contacting them, whether it’s by phone, email, text, or a simple letter? It’s perfectly alright to be concerned if you haven’t been paid yet, but what must be taken into account is the frequency of which you contact them. If you message the tenant too much, even if they are in the process of or are close to paying you, you could be making them feel alarmed or distressed. This is classed as harassment, which is, yet again, against the law. If your harassment goes too far, you might find yourself being taken to court and losing more money. 

5. Wrongful eviction 

It is important to highlight the difference between wrongful conviction and wrongful eviction. This doesn’t mean you’re kicking someone out just because of a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of events, but you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. There are two things you must never do in terms of evicting tenants: 

  1. Evicting them without notice. No one likes to be told something at short notice, let alone at the last minute. You especially cannot do this during a fixed term. Even if there is an end-date on the contract, that doesn’t mean the tenancy agreement will automatically terminate. If rent is paid every month, then a month should be the minimum notice period. 
  1. Evicting them because you’re selling the property. If a tenant has a fixed term tenancy agreement, then they can’t just simply pack up and leave because you are. 

In Conclusion 

These 5 pieces of advice must be followed rather strictly if you wish to be a landlord. If you don’t, then you’ll be breaking the law. However, there are many other things you should never do as a landlord, so if you want to hear more advice about what not to do, as well as what you should do, contact us at Keey today

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