What to do when tenants’ income circumstances change
Let’s start this week’s post and topic with the following complaint from a landlady.
Landlady: The tenants I have got, when they came in my property they were working. Now, I have discovered that they are claiming benefit. What should I do?
The above is the case Home Relief came across from a landlady who asked us for advice and guidance.
This week we are discussing with landlords/ladies how the changes of their tenants’ circumstances may or may not affect their relationships and various aspects of tenancy matter; in particular when a tenant starts to claim housing benefits. Yet, they initially rented the property as working or professional tenants. There are things that can affect tenants’ circumstances and which can become handicap for them to honour their rent or contractual terms.
Things that may affect tenants’ income circumstances
Change of tenants’ circumstances can include the following:
∧ Changes to contact details
∧Changes to household composition
∧Changes of tenants’ name
∧Details about the next of kin
∧ Change or loss of job
∧ Immigration status
Some changes do affect tenants’ ability and way of paying rent. Other changes do not. Most experienced landlords/ladies would know how to deal with this situation. If not, it is better to seek advice or support or even do your own search since there is a lot of sources of information one can tap into.
Planning for the unpredictable and unforeseeable
At the start of any tenancy, it is better to plan for the unpredictable and unforeseeable. If the plan works, that is fine. If it does not work, then there is always legal advice and guidance that one may seek.
To prevent the change of tenants’ circumstances affects the tenancy, most landlords/ladies or their letting agents would have carried out all the required letting checks and verification before the tenancy starts. They would have collected tenants’ references related to the proof of income; check their credit history or score; get the required deposit; get the necessary cover (a guarantor) if the tenants fail to pay; make them to sign an undertaking if they fail in their contractual obligations, etc.
Whatever precautions they may take, letting a property is always a risky business like any other types of business. It does not matter the safety measures one can take as we are dealing with human beings. If things change like in the above case, what to do?
How to manage tenants’ change of circumstances
There are few things one can do in order to deal with the change of tenants’ income circumstances. To manage this change, landlords/ladies can undertake initiatives such as these below:
√ Review the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement
√ Check the tenants’ entitlement to housing benefits is real
√ Review their occupational reference
√ Update their credit history
√ Re-examine their entire file (particularly the financial information you hold about them)
√ Reassess the referencing criteria which says that household income should be 2.5 times the annual rent, etc.
Perhaps, the best thing to do is to have a meeting with the tenants and discuss the matter in depth to find out how they are going to pay for the rent agreed for the all length or the rest of the tenancy. If this does not work, you can always seek mediation or legal advice if the rent payment becomes a controversial issue.
There are more steps that can be taken to resolve any pending issues stemming from the change of tenants’ income circumstances. This week we are working on the range of possible solutions or options to the problem, especially for those landlords/ladies who did not buy a rent guaranteed scheme or rent insurance policy on the market.
Need to find out what to if your tenants’ income circumstances change, work with Home Relief.
If you are looking for an affordable location and home, Home Relief is the people dealing with affordable homes you could consider in your property searches and enquiries.