Emma Lunn: Landlords, too, need protection against rent abuse

Property owners can be left facing huge mortgage arrears and court bills thanks to errant tenants

There have been plenty of stories of late about poor tenants and nasty landlords – but spare a thought for the good landlords – they do exist.

Amid the constant flow of stories of inflated rents, badly repaired property and evictions at short notice, there are numerous tales of non-paying tenants and painfully long and expensive eviction processes.

In many cases if a tenant stops paying the rent, the landlord will have to get a court order to get them to leave and gain possession of their property. This can take anything from three months upwards – during which time the landlord will usually have a mortgage to pay yet no income from the property.

Meanwhile he or she is banned from "harassing" the tenant – including popping round and politely asking for the rent – while all the time the tenant stays put for free.

Even if the landlord is granted possession of the property, recovering the months of rent arrears can mean a separate court case and is often something the landlord is forced to write-off.

Credit checks rarely prove whether someone will be a good tenant or not; traditional credit checking services only check an applicant's financial situation and employment, not their history of paying rent on time.

However, one man is on a mission to stop the scourge of bad tenants. Paul Routledge set up landlordreferencing.co.uk to enable landlords to share information about tenants who have either skipped a property owing rent or caused a substantial amount of damage before disappearing into the night.

The site's been the subject of much debate but surely "good" tenants have nothing to fear?

Broadband woes

I suspect a little more joined up thinking is required at telecoms giant BT. I switched from BT for my home phone and broadband service two years ago after being given the run-around regarding an ongoing fault.

This week a friend of mine suffered exactly the same fate. When her phone and broadband stopped working BT suggested my friend's equipment was to blame. It said that if a BT engineer confirmed this she'd be billed £130.

This threat itself might make many hard-up people think twice about getting an engineer but, undeterred, my friend decided to escalate her complaint. They chairman's office told her the same thing; there was no fault in her area so it must be her equipment. The same day she got talking to some BT engineers working locally. They told her there had been cable theft in her area several days earlier, leaving 5,000 odd homes without service. BT was aware and working on the fault.

Some would say that for a communications company, BT appears to need some work on its communications skills.

Continuous payment authority confusion

Another day, another bank complaint. Research by Consumer Focus found that banks' own customer service advisers are unclear of the rules around Continuous Payment Authorities (CPA) and could be giving customers incorrect advice as a result.

A CPA is a type of regular automatic payment arrangement set up using a debit or credit card. It's an urban myth that only the retailer, not the cardholder, can cancel a CPA, but it's a myth many bank staff seem to believe.

Consumer Focus found that 44 per cent of bank advisers gave the wrong answer or couldn't give an answer, when asked how to cancel a CPA. The FSA guidance on CPAs is clear: The consumer has the right to cancel them. Is it really that hard for banks to tell their staff this?

Julian Knight is away

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Travel
travel

Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

ICT Teacher - NQTs encouraged to apply

£110 - £130 per day + TBC : Randstad Education Reading: ICT Teacher needed up ...

KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Primary Teaching Job in the Devon We ...

KS1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Primary Teaching Job in the Devon We ...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£70 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Group: TA's urgently required. London (S...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past