Your tenants, their neighbours and your role as a landlord

Your tenants, their neighbours and your role as a landlord
Of course, your main responsibilities as a landlord is towards your tenant and your property.

But you also have a duty of care towards your neighbours when renting out your property.

Well, kind of...

Do landlords have a duty of care to neighbours?

This is a difficult one.

Legally, you can't be held directly responsible for tenant behaviour that affects neighbouring properties unless you are encouraging said behaviour.

But removing the legal part of the argument for a moment, keeping tenants in place who are clearly upsetting your neighbours would certainly be bad for business and terrible for your reputation.

Neighbouring properties can, unfortunately, sometimes be affected by tenants living in rental properties - and often the owners of those properties will direct their fury towards the landlord rather than the tenants themselves.

Let's look at some of the issues that can affect neighbours of rental properties...

Noisy tenants

More often than not, issues with tenants can revolve around noise.

And if your rental property is linked to another, such as a flat, a semi-detached or a terraced house, the issue of noise can become a real problem.

As with most neighbour disputes, however, the level of the problem is often in the tolerance level of the neighbours themselves.

Daytime noise, for instance, is usually accepted (if still perhaps a little frustrating), while consistent noise after dark is generally unacceptable.

If your neighbours approach you about your tenants and their levels of noise, try to look at the issue from both sides and try to find a resolution.

Being inconsiderate

This is a wide issue, but one that can cause a multitude of problems for neighbouring properties.

Parking across driveways, allowing bins to overflow, leaving on lights throughout the night or being abusive when approached are all potential flashpoints between tenants and neighbours.

Again, you could argue that you should not be held responsible for these kind of issues as a landlord, but finding a way forward is far better than simply allowing the problem to fester and grow.

When is a landlord liable?

While blaming one person for the action of another might seem a little unfair, there are times when you can be held responsible for your tenant's nuisance behaviour.

These are:

  *  If you encourage the behaviour or do nothing to stop it
  *  If you let your property to tenants and you were aware of a potential nuisance when doing so (for instance, you let your property to someone in a band and knew they would practice at the property)

Things you can do

There are a whole host of steps you can take to solve disputes with neighbours and even stop them altogether.

  *  Let the neighbours have your details so they can contact you with any issues
  *  Speak to your tenant at the start of the tenancy and be clear on what you expect from them
  *  Outline your tenant's obligations towards their neighbours in the tenancy agreement
  *  Regularly inspect the property

Is the issue solely your tenant's fault?

Finally, you should always consider that it could be your neighbour who is at fault in the event of a dispute.

The problem with being a landlord in the event of neighbour disputes is you are the middle man, listening to both sides and trying to establish what the issue is.

Consider everything when trying to find a resolution.

That could mean asking yourself:

  *  Is the neighbour being unreasonable?
  *  Are they lying?
  *  Is the neighbour the problem and the one being disruptive?

If the latter is the case, ask your tenant to keep an accurate record of problems or any incidents.

Use a managing agent

Often the best way to solve problems like neighbour disputes is to use a good lettings agent.

An agent's tenant screening process can help ensure you get the best tenants in your rental property in the first place, lowering the risk of problems. They can also deal with any queries or complaints from neighbours.

Speak to your local Parkers branch, where one of the team would be happy to outline our full management services