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What to do if your tenant ignores you

Posted 25/11/2019 by Reeds Rains
Categories: Landlords
Front of a stone built house with closed blue door

There are certain times and circumstances in which you or your managing agent will need to contact the tenant in your property.

Common reasons include arranging a routine inspection, organising access for maintenance contractors and chasing up rent payments. Most of the time there isn’t any issue and tenants are quite happy to speak to landlords and agents but, occasionally, they simply ignore calls and emails.

Good managing agents are highly experienced in dealing with all kinds of tenant issues, so your first port of call should be ourselves. Even if you have only used us to advertise and find your tenant, we’re still very happy to help if you’re having trouble getting a response from them.

At Reeds Rains, we consider it an essential part of our management service to maintain a good line of communication with the tenants living in our landlords’ properties and it’s very rare for them to ignore us. But if it does happen, here are some key things to know and steps that can be taken:

  1. The first thing is we are very clear on is the law around a landlord/agent’s right to enter the property. Unless a tenant has given their permission or there is a genuine emergency, such as a gas leak or flood, we/you cannot go in uninvited – even with the right amount of notice or if we believe the tenant might have left
  2. We make sure every method of communication has been attempted: phone, email and hand-delivered letter
  3. We keep a detailed paper trail, to prove we have been reasonable in all efforts to make contact
  4. Be aware no-one can harass the tenant. This could be simply calling them repeatedly or knocking on their door several days in a row, particularly into the evenings
  5. If trying to contact them about a late rent payment, remember a Section 8 Notice can be served as soon as they are two months late. Assuming they pay monthly, that’s one month and one day from the first missed payment. Send one copy of the notice via email, requesting a ‘read receipt’ and deliver a hard copy via recorded mail
  6. Even if we are trying to arrange access to carry out repairs, the tenant is within their rights to refuse entry, which is what must be presumed from their lack of contact. In this case, we send an email and letter clearly stating the reason for getting hold of them and that if they continue to ignore us, you will not be held liable for any subsequent deterioration of the property. Also we state you won’t be held liable if they suffer injury or their possessions are damaged because of a fault with the property that you haven’t been able to fix
  7. If the tenant persists in ignoring us, we recommend issuing a Section 21 notice to regain possession of the property without having to state a reason

We are always happy to help and advise landlords so, if you have a specific problem with a tenant not responding to you, please contact your local Reeds Rains branch and we’ll do our very best to help remedy the situation.

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