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Evicting a rogue tenant 'can cost a landlord £31,000' says report

Evicting a rogue tenant 'can cost a landlord £31,000' says report
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE cost of evicting a rogue tenant in Northern Ireland can average more than £31,000, wiping off nearly a third of the property’s value as a result, new research shows.

A study by independent estate agent Benham and Reeves based the cost on lost rental income, damage caused, legal costs to evict the the bad tenant and the continued cost of paying the mortgage over what can stretch for as long as a nine-month nightmare for landlords.

The research shows that, based on the average rental cost of £679 across the UK, the nine-months taken to evict a tenant can see landlords out by £6,111 in rent.

The damage then caused can be considerable, and more often than not the landlord is required to refit the kitchen (£8,000), refit the bathroom (£4,875) and redecorate (£2,900).

A common trait of rogue tenants is to damage the areas of the house they know are most costly to replace and so the majority of the time, the landlord will also be required to replace windows at a cost of £7,000. As a result, this cost to undo damages can hit as much as £22,775.

On top of this, the legal fees required to evict a rogue tenant can average £3,000, while there is the additional cost of mortgage payments out of the landlord's own pocket while no rent is coming in.

The UK-wide study focused on three cities in Northern Ireland, and found that the total eviction cost is highest in Belfast at £32,048 followed by Lisburn (£31,481) and Derry (£30,500).

Landlords in Glasgow, Belfast, and Derry would see the largest percentage of property value lost at 29 per cent of the average house price.

Benham and Reeves director Marc von Grundherr said: “Rogue tenants are a landlord’s absolute worst nightmare and apart from the stress and time consumed dealing with them, the financial impact can be crippling.

“We’re not talking about a bad apple that doesn’t pay rent for the last two months of a tenancy and leaves a dirty protest on their way out. We’re talking about serious criminal organisations that know the letter of the law and every trick in the book to prevent you from getting rid of them, including how to stall the court date for weeks on end and how to deter the bailiff through threats of violence when they finally do call.

“At the very least, you’ll have a dangerously overcrowded sub-let on your hands but more often than not it will be a brothel, workhouse or drug farm.

“We’re not kidding when we talk about the complete renovation and refurbishment of the property afterwards either, as they will take every single thing they can and destroy whatever is left.

“That’s why we can’t stress enough how vital it is to rent via an agent who conducts the proper checks through a qualified third party who is trained to spot even the most convincing of forged documents. Failing to do so can cost you thousands, even hundreds of thousands to put right.”

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