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ENFORCE TENANCY AGREEMENTS:RE-BALANCE THE RIGHTS OF THE LANDLORD.

Comment 16th July 2010

In Northrn Ireland we have a substantial problem with tenants entering into e.g. a 1 year contract and leaving the property as and when they wish.

Many tenants are simply not paying their last month's rent (whether it be month 3,9 or 11).they are in actual fact just off setting the month's rent against their security desposit. 

The tenant moves out at the end of the month for which they have not paid rent and have left the landlord/agent  with nothing -in effect taking their deposits without the landlord's consent, and not fulfilling the agreement to allow the agent to check the property has been left as it was found.

In N.Ireland the landlord – tenant contract is not taken seriously, neither by the tenant nor by the law – and I am talking of contracts drawn up by estate agents .

The tenant is not, despite the contract,required to pay the rent for the rest of the agreement . E.g. a one year contract broken at the end of say 6 months, with 6 months owing.  In the case of the property being damaged the landlord has no deposit left from which to carry out repairs, since the tenant has offset it against his last month's rent. 

There is a system in Australia, whereby deposits are held by an independent government body.  I am not aware of the name of this body, but it protected both the tenant and the landlord. This body,  also kept a list of "blacklisted" tenants and landlords and again protected both, through its transparency. 

Currently landlords in N.Ireland are writing good references for "bad" tenants, as it helps the unscrupulous landlord to shift the problem of a bad tenant to another unsuspecting landlord. This is their only hope since they are afriad of squatter's rights and are only too releived when a bad tenant decides to move on.

 In OZ the  law used to be that if I were in a one year tenancy contract, but for whatever reason needed to move on, then if I could not find another suitable tenant,I had to pay out the rest of the contract.  If I did not, then I lost my deposit and I was put on the dreaded "blacklist".  This protected everyone.  It was alos allowable that if the agent found another tenant to see out the end of my contract at a reduced rate of rent, then I would have to agree to pay the rest of the amount payable as per my agreement.

Why does this matter?

A fair landlord is left powerless against an unfair tenant.  (I am not suggesting that all landlords are fair).

th law of contract, is the law of contract. Whether it is a tenanct agreement or whatever, the courts must help both parties to uphold the law. It seems to me that the current law falls on the side of  the tenant. 

 

The law needs to help to protect landlords.

 

Consider their plight too.  They are now being taxed heavily on Captial gains on a second property and many have been caught and are now in negative equity. BoE interest rates are bound to rise soon, mortgage rates can only go up and council taxes/rates continue to rise…………the burden needs to be eased as many are facing losing their rental homes when inflation increases.   

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