As a rental property owner, one of your most important responsibilities you have is to keep your tenants happy. You’re here to provide a service, after all. But if you find that your tenants are behaving badly, is it your responsibility as a landlord to take steps to correct the situation?
Landlords are not responsible for their tenants’ behaviour, but they can be held accountable if they have allowed bad behaviour to continue after incidents have been reported. Bad behaviour can range from loud noises during unsocial hours to anti-social behaviour, which is a criminal offence.
Every person is responsible for their own behaviour so it would be unreasonable to blame the landlord for a tenants inappropriate behaviour. However, every good landlord will listen to any complaint that is reported to them, and take the necessary steps to ensure the situation is addressed so that it doesn’t escalate any further.
Bad behaviour from tenants can leave landlords tired and confused as to why their tenants act the way they do. And the truth is, these types of people can cause major problems for themselves and others around them in any number of ways.
Once a tenant and a landlord enter into a tenancy agreement, they are legally bound to each other. The landlord is responsible for the tenant’s security to live in a safe and habitable environment, and the tenant is responsible for behaving in a way that does not damage the property or disrupt the peace for people around them.
If the landlord constantly receives complaints from neighbours about the behaviour of the their tenant, then steps need to be taken. A landlord should talk to both the tenant and neighbours to try and solve the problem in the first instance, but if that doesn’t work, then the landlord should report the incidents to the local authorities.
To help avoid all these problems, the landlord should include a clause in the tenancy agreement about the conduct that will be expected and the behaviour that will not be tolerated. The tenant will then have a clear understanding of the terms in order to avoid early termination of the contract and eviction.
There are some situations when the landlord could be held accountable for the tenant’s behaviour. For example, if a landlord knows that a tenant is engaging in illegal activities within the property, such as manufacturing and selling drugs, then the landlord may be charged for allowing such behaviour to continue.
Likewise, if the landlord rented a property to a person who they knew would produce noise by setting up a music studio, then they could be held liable for that too.
Landlords Responsibility To Neighbours
Problems with neighbours can make it harder to rent a property in the future because no one wants neighbours to constantly watch over them or to report every little thing they do.
Landlords who take some responsibility for the behaviour of their tenants can minimise conflict and make their property more desirable for other tenants.
A landlord should take the time to talk with neighbours about new tenants and see if the tenants are behaving politely and if there are any problems.
If the neighbours raise any concerns, the landlord should talk to the tenant about the objections and see if the complaints are justified and if the tenant is really as problematic as the neighbours claim.
If the neighbours complaints are justifiable, then the landlord should calmly remind the tenant of the relevant clause in the tenancy agreement.
Is A Landlord Responsible For Noisy Tenants?
Noisy tenants are one of the most common problems that landlords face with regards to tenant behaviour. Although a landlord is not responsible for noisy tenants, they should contact the tenant and politely ask them to quieten down.
In the UK, Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1985 allows excessive noise nuisance to be possible grounds for eviction. Police, council or housing associations have powers to tackle anti-social noise from residential premises.
Sounds that the police, council or housing associations can respond too are raising voices, car and burglar alarms, deliberate banging, loud music and DIY activities.
If a landlord is notified that a tenant is playing loud music late at night, they should contact the tenant immediately and ask them to turn the music down or connect some headphones.
A landlord who receives complaints about a noisy tenant should always take action before the situation escalates.
Is The Landlord Responsible For A Tenants Barking Dog?
Landlords are not responsible for tenants barking dogs, but they should definitely do something about it to prevent disgruntled neighbours. When you find out that the dog is constantly barking, be sure to inform the tenant. The tenant is most likely not even aware that this problem exists.
Dogs usually bark when they are frustrated, sad or lonely. This will most often happen when a dog is left alone at home for an extended period of time. The dog then becomes bored and looks for entertainment which can lead to damage of the furniture and furnishings.
It’s recommended that a dog should not be left alone for more than four hours. So if a tenant works and they are likely to spend a lot of time away from their home, they should make arrangements for a dog sitter in their home or leave the dog with someone else.
If the neighbours complain about a dog barking, insist that the tenant solve the problem. If they fail to solve the problem, ask them to contact a dog behaviourist or seek advice from another specialist so that the problem does not continue.
When a problem like this arises, the most important thing is for the landlord to communicate with the tenant and help them solve the problem. Although you are not responsible for tenants barking dog , if the neighbours are complaining about the noise, you should help them to find a solution.
Also, explain to the neighbours that you are not responsible for the noise, but that you are aware of the problem and that you will do all you can to assist. It is always a good idea to keep the neighbours informed every step of the way.
Many landlords refuse to rent a property to pet owners to avoid the risk of flea infestation and potential damage that may occur to the property. However, pets are very popular with some tenants and there are many good pet owners.
A landlord who is willing to consider letting their property to pet owners can capture an untapped market in their local area.
Can A Landlord Evict A Tenant For Anti-Social Behaviour?
Landlords can evict their tenants for anti-social behaviour. Tenants can be evicted for breaking the terms of the tenancy agreement relating to the nuisance or annoyance of other tenants or neighbours. Similarly, tenants can be evicted for using the property in a way that’s illegal or immoral.
Examples of anti-social behaviour by tenants that can lead to eviction include:
- The use of drugs
- Excessive or persistent noise e.g. TV or loud music
- Shouting, screaming, swearing or drunkenness
- Using violence or threatening to use violence
- Vandalism, graffiti or fly-tipping
- Causing malicious damage to the property
Evicting a tenant for anti-social behaviour can be costly and is usually a last resort. If the damage or anti-social behaviour is not serious, it can sometimes be dealt with by talking to the tenant and reminding them of the potential consequences if their actions were to continue.
There may also be instances in which a landlord decides not to evict a tenant who is being anti-social. However, if other tenants or neighbours feel they are being badly affected by somebody else’s behaviour, they may raise the matter with the local authorities which could reflect badly on the landlord.
How Can Landlords Prove Anti-Social Behaviour Of A Tenant?
In order to evict a tenant for anti-social behaviour, a landlord will normally need to demonstrate that other tenants or neighbours have been affected by their behaviour. A record of incidents should be kept to show a pattern of anti-social behaviour to the courts.
The landlord may also need to prove that the tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy agreement.
There are several ways to keep records of a tenants behaviour:
- Keep a diary with the date and time that incidents occur
- Save any threatening emails, text messages or social media posts
- Keep any threatening or abusive voicemail messages
- Take photographs or video footage of any damage caused or other anti-social behaviour
- Request witness statements from those who have been affected
- Obtain professional witness statements from the police or other local authorities
Landlords who are unable to to capture incidents in detail should advise other tenants or neighbours to do so in order to help assist them with the eviction process.