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Tenants face losing deposit as 83% of landlords report tenancy agreements being breached

Tenants face losing deposit
  • A total of 83% of landlords have had tenants breach their tenancy agreement
  • Most common breaches include not keeping the property sufficiently clean
  • Other breaches include keeping a pet without the landlord’s permission 

More than eight out of ten landlords say they have had a tenant breach their tenancy agreement, according to new research.

Direct Line surveyed 500 landlords in October and November last year and found that 83 per cent had experienced a tenancy breach.

The most common breaches included not keeping the property sufficiently clean and maintained – at 36 per cent – and failing to notify a landlord of required repairs at 29 per cent.

Other breaches include damaging or making alterations to the property, keeping a pet in the property, smoking or vaping in the property and redecorating without permission.

All of these other breaches were reported by more than a quarter of the landlords surveyed.

The most common sanction for broken tenancy agreements is to have money deducted from the tenant’s deposit, to issue the tenant with a written or verbal warning, or to ask the tenants to pay for the damages or work themselves.

Landlords are being urged by Direct Line to have their properties inspected regularly to help check for any breaches.

Left unaddressed, issues such as required repairs may cost more money to rectify if they are left in the long run.

Reason for breach Proportion of breaches
Failing to pay rent on time (or not at all) 38 per cent
Failing to keep the property sufficiently clean and maintained 36 per cent
Failure to notify the landlord of things that need repairing 29 per cent
Damaging or making alterations to the property 28 per cent
Keeping a pet in the property 28 per cent
Smoking/vaping in the property 27 per cent
Redecorating without permission 25 per cent
Causing a disturbance or nuisance to neighbouring properties 23 per cent
Subletting or moving in people without notifying the landlord 15 per cent
Changing locks 15 per cent
Tampering with or covering smoke or carbon monoxide alarms 10 per cent
Other 1 per cent
landlords who have not experienced any breaches in tenancy agreements 17 per cent
Source; Direct Line
Action Imposed Proportion of actions
Money deducted from their deposit 38 per cent
Gave them a written or verbal warning 32 per cent
Made them pay for the damages or work 28 per cent
Did not return the deposit 26 per cent
Evicted the tenant 23 per cent
Made them rectify the issue 23 per cent
Other 2 per cent
Landlords who did not take any action 6 per cent
Source: Direct Line

Despite this, just over half of landlords – at 55 per cent – conduct six-monthly property inspections, according to the Direct Line research.

A further 21 per cent make only annual checks, while 10 per cent of landlords admit that they only visit their properties at the start and end of the tenancy.

Fourteen per cent of landlords visit their properties less often than that, or only if they suspect there is an issue.

Harriet Scanlan, of Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, said: ‘When it comes to lettings, landlords often find themselves juggling numerous responsibilities to ensure the seamless management of their investment.

‘Many will have a full-time job, renting out a property or two in order to supplement their income.

‘From marketing the property to vetting tenants, ensuring you secure the very best offer out there and get the best return on your investment, is a constant juggle.

‘This is where the expertise of a lettings agent can be invaluable, serving as a valuable guide through the intricate web of regulations and responsibilities, and keeping an eye on your investment.’

Sarah Casey, of Direct Line, said: ‘Property inspections shouldn’t feel intrusive for tenants and are all about building good relationships and keeping an eye out for any emerging issues.

‘Early intervention can often stop these from developing into a bigger problem that requires landlords to take further action.

‘Landlords should also make sure that tenancy deposits are held in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme to help cover costs if, for example, the tenant leaves the property in a filthy state, has broken furniture or removed property supplied by the landlord.’

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