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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
Extras
indybest
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
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

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style