Posted by Sue Hopson
Although most tenants are prompt with payments, one of the biggest problems experienced by landlords and property management services is dealing with late or unpaid rent.
According to Michael Devlin of Chafes Solicitors, this means that it is vital that landlords have a system in place to deal with the issue of rent arrears should it arise.
Writing in a blog post for the National Landlords Association, he commented: "Being aware of the options and acting quickly can minimise any adverse effects of rent arrears.
"In residential cases, recovering possession through the courts needs to be as swift as possible. Having a clear knowledge of these options and a plan of action in place is critical."
However, there are also a number of things that landlords can do before a tenancy begins to minimise the risk of taking on a tenant who is likely to miss a rent payment, said the expert.
First of all, you should request to obtain credit checks of new tenants, he advised, as well as gather references from their previous landlord and employer, making sure you get the tenant's permission first.
Mr Devlin recommends asking to see the tenant's ID, obtaining evidence of ability to pay the rent, such as a bank statement, and seeking a guarantor where necessary.
Landlords should also request a deposit and protect it under one of three government endorsed schemes.
"Of course this does not guarantee a successful tenancy, but will go some way to give you peace of mind. You might like to ask a third party referencing company to assist," said Mr Devlin.
Always make sure you follow the correct guidelines when asking a tenant for such personal information."
If landlords are unsure about how to go about any of these steps, they can ask their residential lettings agents for advice.