‘Emily’ and ‘Mike’ have several rental properties in and around the town where they live. They have been letting their flats and two-bed houses for many years and have just added a three-bed home to their portfolio.

As active landlords, Emily carries out the six-monthly inspections and Mike manages the maintenance aspects of the properties.

Both Emily and Mike meet with prospective tenants and obtain references from previous landlords before agreeing upon a new lease.

Flooded with applicants for their new rental property, Emily and Mike shortlist the applicants and arrange meetings with three potential sets of tenants.

The Anderson family’s four-year-old daughter, Jessie, is delighted with the size of the garden declaring it perfect for her furry friends. It transpires the Anderson’s have two dogs, three cats, one old rabbit, two guinea pigs, a tortoise and a Russian Dwarf hamster, whose house would fit nicely in Jessie’s bedroom. Thank you, but no, says Emily.

The advert specified ‘no pets’.

‘Can’t people read!’ mutters Emily to Mike as the Anderson’s leave.

Next are the Mason’s. Two adults, two children, no pets. Ideal, thinks Mike.

‘Why are you moving from your current rental property?’ asks Emily.

‘The landlord’s really difficult,’ replies Mr Mason. ‘He doesn’t like the kids’ music and really doesn’t like me working on my bikes.’

‘How many bikes do you have?’ asks Mike.

‘Just the one,’ comes the reply.

‘Oh.’ Emily is confused. ‘But you said bikes, not bike…’.

‘Yeah, no, I do up bikes, then sell them. I’ve got about nine on the go right now. Will be a bit tight here, what with just one parking space in the drive, but I’ll manage!’ chuckles Mr Mason.

Thank you, but no, said Mike, conscious of the neighbours.

Next are Jen and Toby, a polite couple in their mid-late twenties. No pets, no children.

‘We both work from home so the two spare bedrooms would be our offices,’ explains Toby. ‘Jen works in insurance and I’m an accountant.’

The references check out, the lease is signed, a month’s rent in advance is paid and Jen and Toby moved in.

Six peaceful months go by before it’s time for Emily to carry out the first inspection.

‘How was it?’ asks Mike later that evening.

‘Oh, it was fine,’ says Emily. ‘Well, they’re not the greatest at cleaning or cutting the grass, and there are a couple of stains on the carpet in the entrance hall, but it was ok.’

Six more peaceful months.

‘How was the inspection, Em?’ asks Mike.

‘Um, well, I couldn’t get in today. Jen texted me to say she was unwell, so I’ll go next week as the rest of this week’s busy for them.’

Three weeks pass and no inspection. Another two weeks pass and still no inspection. Two more months pass without access being granted by Jen or Toby, despite Emily’s continued polite requests and written notices.

‘We need to get in Em, it’s our property, our investment. We have rights as landlords, don’t we?’ asks Mike.

‘Yes, and no. We have to respect the quiet enjoyment right that tenants hold and as there isn’t any sign of flooding, a gas leak, structural damage or criminal activities, we can’t legally enter without permission,’ explains Emily.

Six weeks later Emily receives the contractual one month’s notice from Jen and Toby that they are moving out. Emily tries to gain entry again so she can carry out the final inspection, but Jen and Toby are unresponsive.

Moving out day arrives so Emily goes to the house. Jen and Toby have already left.

Emily enters the property.

In just over a year, their beautiful rental property has been trashed. The new carpets need replacing throughout, most of the bannister’s spindles are broken, the oven door from its hinges, toilet seats are damaged, and the bathrooms themselves are beyond filthy, the list goes on and on – inside and out.

Jen and Toby’s deposit is not returned to them, but the deposit doesn’t come close to covering the extensive works needed to be undertaken, nor the professional cleaning costs, to return the house to a rentable state.

Had Emily and Mike employed the services of a private investigative team to carry out background checks prior to signing the tenancy agreement, they would have discovered a dark history of rental property trashing and they would have been more rigorous in fact-checking the references which were as fake as their jobs in insurance and accountancy.

New and experienced landlords can fall victim to poor tenants and, with limited powers, they can find themselves heavily out of pocket.

Protect your investment

At AH Jones Investigators, we have vast experience in carrying out full background checks on prospective tenants. While most checks return positive results, the fictional story of Jen and Toby can be a reality that could be avoided. Get peace of mind; talk to us today on 01392 278612.