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
News
people
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Recruitment Genius: Visitor Centre - Attraction Manager

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: For the first time in its 1,000...

Recruitment Genius: Air Conditioning Service and / or Installation Engineers

£27400 - £33500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time air conditioning, ven...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of web an...

Recruitment Genius: Class 1 Driver

£12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader in the events...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?