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Landlords pay more than £30,000 to evict problem tenants

3-minute read

Mollie Millman

30 August 2019

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The average cost of evicting a rogue tenant has now exceeded £30,000, according to new research.

This covers not only legal fees and unpaid rent, but the cost of repairing extensive damage to the property.

The research by estate agents Benham and Reeves reveals the severe financial impact that a rogue tenant can have on a landlord’s investment.

How long is the eviction process?

In some cases, evicting a tenant through the official channels doesn’t just take weeks or months – it can take almost a year.

This is because there are strict laws you need to follow as a landlord if there’s a dispute with your tenant over their eviction.

These include you having to issue notices to ask for possession of your property and going to court to get an order for possession.

The figures below are based on the eviction process taking nine months to get rid of a rogue tenant, and cover the cost of lost rent, damage and legal fees.

What eviction costs do landlords have to bear?

Lost rent

Using the current UK average rent of £679 a month as an example, a landlord would miss out on a total rental income of £6,111 across nine months.

Damage costs

Rogue tenants can cause a considerable amount of damage. We’re not talking about tenants who fall into the category of missing a couple of months’ rent here, but rather criminal gangs who strip a property of its worth.

The landlord is then left with having to fork out to cover a whole range of costs. These can include a new kitchen at £8,000, a new bathroom at £4,875, painting and decorating at £2,900 and even new windows at £7,000, the research suggested.

Legal costs

Legal expenses during the eviction process can also run into the thousands – on average, it can cost £3,000 to legally evict a tenant.

Add all of those costs together and you’ll see that it can cost £31,886 on average to evict a rogue tenant.

And if, like many, you have a mortgage on your rental property, you still need to make the repayments – rogue tenant or not – so the costs can quickly run high.

Cost of rogue tenants

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, said: “Rogue tenants are a landlord’s absolute worst nightmare and apart from the stress and time consumed dealing with them, the financial impact can be crippling.

“We’re not talking about a bad apple that doesn’t pay rent for the last two months of a tenancy and leaves a dirty protest on their way out. We’re talking about serious criminal organisations that know the letter of the law and every trick in the book to prevent you from getting rid of them, including how to stall the court date for weeks on end and how to deter the bailiff through threats of violence when they finally do call.

“At the very least, you’ll have a dangerously overcrowded sub-let on your hands but more often than not it will be a brothel, workhouse or drug farm. We’re not kidding when we talk about the complete renovation and refurbishment of the property afterward either, as they will take every single thing they can and destroy whatever is left.

“Kitchens, bathrooms, and windows are often the main features targeted as they know that these are the most costly areas of a property to replace and more often than not they will smash appliances to pieces, disconnect piping and shatter windows for no other reason than to cause the maximum amount of damage they can.

“It’s an extremely deep-rooted issue that goes beyond the tenant, even as far as the bribery of the concierge and so you really are fighting from day one to get them out.”

Have you had to evict a rogue tenant? Tell us your story in the comments below.

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