The Sheriffs Office has a cure for the recovery of rent arrears; but landlords might find prevention much less painful than cure!

Guest author: Lorna Rose, Director of Tenant ID.

There was a recent Supreme Court ruling which has serious repercussions for everyone who lets property for a living.

A local authority wanted to evict a tenant, who receives thousands of pounds in benefits, after she ran up more than £3,500 in arrears on the accommodation she was given because she was homeless.

To quote the Daily Mail: But the Supreme Court said that – under the controversial European Convention on Human Rights – this would be a breach of the right to ‘respect for a person’s home’.

Which begs the question: does this mean it is OK for someone to wander into the Savoy Grill, sit down to a fine meal then inform Gordon Ramsey they don’t have to pay because it is their human right to eat?

Can anyone get British Gas to install a state of the art central heating system then refuse to pay with impunity because it is their human right to be warm? Would it be acceptable not to pay a phone bill on the grounds we have freedom of speech? I could go on!

However, if landlords, local authorities and letting agents cannot oust people who do not abide by their part of the tenancy agreement (a legal document by the way!) they stand to lose their livelihood. They may also find themselves in protracted, highly stressful court battles trying to get back the money they are owed. In some case the words “blood” and “stone” will be appropriate.

That is why new companies like TenantID which is set up to provide simple information on a tenant’s letting history could prove invaluable, especially if used alongside referencing and credit checks etc.

The number of people renting properties has risen by 40% in the past five years. More than five million people rent their home in this country. With so many people wanting to rent from them, those in the lettings community need all the help they can get to ensure their tenants are reliable.

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