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Are Your Tenants Giving You The Silent Treatment? Here’s What to Do!

Are Your Tenants Giving You The Silent Treatment

Owning a rental property would be a dream for many people across the UK. It may seem like easy, passive income at first.

However, many do not understand the amount of time, and effort property owners invest in maintaining the property, scouting out a suitable tenant, and fostering an amicable relationship with them.

Whether you decide to do the legwork or choose to hire a managing agent, an open line of communication with tenants is undoubtedly crucial.

Why You Need to Be in Contact with Tenants

Some might question why their landlord even needs to contact them after they move in.

Doesn’t the arduous work end in finding the perfect rental property and passing the landlord’s checks?

Keeping in regular contact with tenants is crucial for a landlord. You should be performing routine inspections to ensure the property is suitably maintained and all the conditions set out in the rental contract are adhered to.

This can include the number of pets allowed, the number of occupants in residence, and so on.

You also need to contact your tenant to carry out regular maintenance and repairs. And let us not forget chasing tenants for rental payments!

Usually, tenants are perfectly reasonable and will happily converse with you, but what do you do when they start to give you the silent treatment?

As with most things in life, it’s best left to the professionals! If you use a managing agent or estate agency to scout and filter out potential tenants, you can always call on their expertise when tenants need to be contacted.

Your managing agent will be more than happy to lend a helping hand and assist you in getting a response and advising on moving forward regarding your particular situation.

Why not visit or contact your local Ashtons branch?

7 Things You Need to  Know About Unresponsive Tenants

Keep this in mind when dealing with unresponsive tenants:

1. Suppose you are trying to contact your tenant regarding a missed rent payment.

There are legal routes you can take instead of merely waiting for a reply via telephone. You are allowed to serve a Section 8 Notice when your tenant is two months late on their rent.

This means that if you are receiving the rent monthly, you may serve a Section 8 Notice one month and one day from the date of the first missed payment.

To ensure that the tenant has received the notice, send one copy of the Section 8 Notice via email, request a ‘read receipt,’ and deliver another hard copy via recorded mail.

2. What if you are trying to gain access to the property for maintenance and repair purposes?

If you have not been able to fix the issue, you cannot be held liable for the consequences of the problem!

If the tenant refuses to respond to attempts to communicate, you can assume that the tenant has refused entry to the premises. Unfortunately, rental tenants are well within their legal rights to refuse entry.

The tenant should receive an email that clearly states the reasons for attempted communication. Should they continue to ignore communication attempts, then, as a property owner, you are no longer held liable for the deterioration of the property.

Naturally, this extends to no longer being held liable for any consequential injuries or damage to possessions due to a fault with the property, such as water damage from a leaking pipe.

3. You may possess the keys, but consent is the ultimate key!

Legally, a property owner/managing agent does not have the right to enter the property without explicit permission from the residing tenant unless there is a genuine emergency.

Events that constitute a genuine emergency include a flood, gas leak, etc. A property owner or managing agent may not enter the property if it is believed that the tenant is not on the premises or sufficient notice has not been given.

4. There may be valid reasons why your tenant has not responded to your attempts to contact them.

Perhaps their phone has broken, or their internet is down, and they have not been able to read your emails, or they have simply forgotten to reply.

To remedy this, do not merely use one method of communication. Take care to ensure that every form of communication is attempted. Make a phone call, send an email, hand-deliver a letter to their front door.

5. While this may be a frustrating situation, keep in mind that the tenant cannot and should not be harassed.

The definition of harassment is subjective, and their idea of harassment may be your idea of an attempt to communicate.

The tenant may view multiple phone calls, an influx of emails, or daily knocking on their door, or communication outside of acceptable or office hours as harassment. Remember that respect and politeness can go a long way, and your tenant may be dealing with many personal issues.

6. As this may turn into a legal matter and as proof of your good intentions as a property owner, you must keep a detailed paper trail of your efforts to contact the tenant.

A managing agent is well versed in maintaining a paper trail for this purpose and can advise you on how you should go about doing this. This paper trail will show that there has been a reasonable effort on your part to make contact, and this may include phone call records, unanswered emails, photocopies of dated letters delivered.

7. Finally, if the tenant resists all attempts to get a hold of them, it is recommended that you start the process to repossess the property.

Issuing a Section 21 Notice will allow a property owner to regain possession without stating a reason. It may be in your best interests to cut your losses and protect your property.

Final Thoughts

Getting silent treatment from a tenant can be extremely overwhelming for a landlord.

There are so many conditions and factors for you to consider, and there are processes to follow to ensure you don’t run into problems with your tenants.

So give yourself a break from the property-related stress and make the process easier by hiring a managing agent to assist you in all areas of tenant liaison.

If you’d like to find out more about how Ashtons can help you contact one of our branches for further information.

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