Is Dispute Resolution a Better Solution Than Eviction?
Dispute resolution: The simpler solution to tenant woes?
Most problems are best dealt with early, before they escalate. Issues with tenants is no exception, with the average repossession process taking just shy of a year and costing about £3,000 (plus any lost rent, of course).
So while some problems will only be solved by serving a Section 21 and Section 8 notice that then goes to a court hearing, could dispute resolution be what you need?
Reaching an agreement as early as you can will make things easier, less protracted and often less stressful. We asked Adrian McClinton, who’s a property litigation solicitor and dispute expert resolution expert, for his take on dispute resolution.
Is dispute resolution cheaper than eviction?
Adrian is in no doubt about this:
In most cases, absolutely. The vast majority of landlords own a property for investment purposes, so they’re looking for a return on their investment. Avoiding void periods is a no-brainer, therefore. When you remove a tenant from a property a void period is inevitable.
Dispute resolution is a way that landlords can avoid a loss of income, while the tenant gets to keep their home. “Where it’s possible to reach an agreement and move forward I’d always recommend that,” Adrian says.
But, as with all complex matters, weighing up potential losses is important. “Sometimes it’s really important not to throw good money after bad,” Adrian elaborates. “If, for instance, a tenant isn’t paying rent, it’s probably because they don’t have the money, and if that’s the case the landlord needs to act quickly to protect their investment.”
What are the most common types of dispute?
Rent arrears is the most common issue by far, and Adrian recommends having a discussion as early as possible with the tenant to find out exactly what’s behind the issue. “It could be as simple as a glitch with the standing order for the rent payments. I think it’s really important for a landlord to make early contact with the tenant wherever there is a breach of the tenancy.”
Nuisance and annoyance breaches are another widespread challenge for landlords, but Adrian has some advice:
In advance of putting a tenant into a property, experienced landlords will visit neighbours to let them know that they’re renting the property out to a new tenant. They’ll ensure that the neighbours have the landlord’s contact details. That way, if the tenant causes any issues, the landlord will be aware, and the landlord can contact them and ask them to behave themselves.
There are plenty of measures that landlords can take to try and ensure that conflict is avoided in the first place – but communication is absolutely key, according to Adrian.
As is doing your due diligence with Tenant Referencing.
The expert’s key tip for de-escalating disputes
Adrian advises that you get in touch with the tenant the moment you discover something is less than ideal and find why there is a problem.
Some issues can be resolved directly between landlord and tenant, whereas some need an intermediary, like a dispute resolution service.