For the most part, tenants are respectful of the accommodation they rent and the agreement they have in place with their landlords. But occasionally, the odd problem tenant will come along.

Noise complaints, rent arrears and damage are just some of the common issues landlords face. However, for landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), there are several tenants in one property to deal with, and so potentially more issues.

It’s more important than ever in the case of HMOs to select your tenants wisely – after all, they need to fit in with the dynamic of the existing household to make it an enjoyable place to live. Nonetheless, there can be instances where it doesn’t go as smoothly as you may have hoped.

Whether it’s the selfish party animal, an extremely awkward love triangle or compulsive food thief, problem tenants need to be dealt with in the appropriate manner. Failure to resolve issues could mean the loss of five tenants instead of one.

Here are a few top tips that could help you manage difficult tenants before having to go down the eviction route and wait until a Section 21 is enforced.


• Keeping in regular contact with your tenants is extremely important. The more available you are to your tenants, the more likely they are to keep you abreast of any problems, which could in turn prevent them happening in the first place.

• If you are made aware of a problem tenant, you should at first try and talk to them informally. Be sensitive to the circumstances and to their needs, as there may be an underlying reason why there is an issue.

• If the situation does escalate, stay calm and keep your cool. You may get instances where you feel threatened or you feel the need to retaliate, but it’s important that you remain professional.

• Maintain contact with the other tenants and keep them informed of what you are doing about any problems. If you have issued a Section 21, then they are probably unaware that this could take two to three months and think you’ve been slow in dealing with matters.

Gather information and evidence

• There’s always a chance that a Section 21 will need to be served so it’s important to maintain records of every discussion or contact you have with the problem tenant and others who have complained.

• Keep emails, text messages and letters. Record dates of telephone calls and make notes and keep them together. You’ll need to be prepared.

Compromise if possible

• If the situation has left you with no other choice but to serve a Section 21, talk to the tenant and try and come to a compromise. They might not want a Section 21 on their record. They may also want to leave and will be glad of an early exit from their tenancy agreement, provided they have enough time to find alternative accommodation.

• You may need to take a financial hit, but the longer it takes to get the problem tenant out, the more likely you are to lose the good will of other tenants.

Finally, it’s always good to get some professional advice where you can. A lettings specialist who understands all of the legal aspects of tenancy will ensure you do things properly and this is better done before waiting until the worst has happened.

Do you have any more tips for dealing with problem tenants? Share them with us in the comments.