What to do when a tenant is breaking the terms of tenancy

by Gary Whittaker

There are many ways that tenants can break the terms of the tenancy agreement they will have signed before they moved in. Whether they've not been paying their rent on time, have got a pet in the property when they were told to, or are just generally not looking after the place well, there are a number of reasons both letting agents and landlords can feel frustrated with the people they are dealing with. 

In these cases, it's often easy to jump to the threats of eviction and starting court action to get someone out of the property, because they've been identified as a problem. However, while this may end up being the way you have to deal with them in the end, some issues can actually be ironed out once identified, and it's often better to try to deal with the tenant before you start any legal action. You never know, it might just work out well in the end. 

Here, we take a look at a few steps you can take when you find out a tenant has been breaking the terms of their tenancy.


The easiest way to get in touch with your tenant is to give them a call to discuss any issues. In many cases, even when it comes to paying the rent, tenants might not be aware that they have broken the terms of their tenancy, so the first thing you should always look to do is make contact and discuss the issue with them. If it turns out they did know, having them on the phone is a good way for you both to set about making a plan of action for rectifying the problem. And even if they didn't know they were doing anything wrong (such as having a pet in the house), making them aware is the best place to start on the road to things getting better. 

Send a letter

If you can't get in touch with the tenant on the phone - and remember that for some who know they've done something wrong, it may be the case they're ignoring you - it can be a good idea to send a letter outlining the issues that you've identified. If it's a case of a property not being looked after, or a month's rent having gone unpaid, let the tenant know what your findings are, and how and when you expect them to rectify it. And most importantly, encourage them to give you a call. It's always important to remember in the relationship between a tenant and letting agent that most things can be worked out, and it's always easier to have a proper chat about the issues that come up. 

Set out a plan

Finally, once you have identified instances of a tenancy agreement being broken, and spoken to the tenant about it, the next and final stage of your process is to set out a plan, working with the tenant, to rectify it. Make sure you have it all written down, including what you expect, when the tenant has agreed to make these changes or set things right by, and then have them sign it to show they agree. It can be a good idea to give the tenant time to make things right - whether it's rehoming their pet or redecorating a room they might have previously decorated against the landlord's wishes - to show that you want to work with them, and are not just out to get them. 

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25-August-17Property Management