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Whilst landlords are expected to abide by the rules and regulations of the UK and their local authority, while keeping on top of contracts, inspections, invoices and other paperwork, it seems as though some of their efforts are being wasted. Two-thirds of tenants in the UK have admitted that they have flouted their tenancy agreement or made changes without their landlord’s permission. The confessions came to light in a poll carried out for home interior specialist, Hillarys, which asked tenants if they had ever done anything in their rental property that the landlord had specifically said was not permitted or that they felt would be refused if they had asked.

About 67% put their hands up to this, with 39% saying they had pets when this was not allowed in their tenancy agreement and 34% saying they had not asked permission before carrying out changes to the interior. On top of this, 26% said they had smoked in the property when this not permitted and 17% had sublet a room or had other people to stay. Even if they were confronted by a suspicious landlord, half said that they had lied to their landlords, while a further 28% told half-truths. When asked why they lied, one in three said it was because they knew the landlord would not give permission, while one in five said they never thought they would be caught out. Of those who were caught, 48% were told to stop, while 23% were allowed to continue. One in 10 were told to find somewhere else to live.

In another survey, about half the tenants who were asked said they had argued with their landlord, with many saying they would move out if the problems escalated. Nearly one in five also found their landlord to be unapproachable, according to the research from Lightbulbs Direct. The most common reason why a tenant called a landlord was because of a damaged window – a problem faced by 66% of those surveyed. This was followed by 49% who wanted permission to decorate, 46% who had a broken appliance which needed fixing, 44% called about a blocked toilet, and 33% were in touch about cleaning the property.

Younger people were more likely to fall out with their landlord, with 65% of 18 to 24-year olds and 66% of 25 to 34-year-olds admitting to having had arguments. Younger tenants were also more likely to have missed a rental payment. The survey showed 24% of tenants had missed a rental payment in the past, which included 44% of people aged 25 to 34 years, but only 5% of over-65s.

These disputes and disregard for contracts are all good reasons why landlords need to keep a clear record of all conversations and paperwork between themselves and their tenants. Software is available which means all paperwork including contracts, invoices and bills can be stored together. All conversations can be logged and photographs taken of property, both internally and externally. Then, when a dispute arises, the landlord can fall back on this as evidence if necessary.

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