The Fixer: tenant trouble

Advice for landlord whose tenant doesn't pay the rent.

Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.

Dear Fixer,
I rent out a flat in Birmingham on a shorthold tenancy basis. The young man living in it at the moment has been there for about three months.

His first two months' rent were paid on time, but this month the money did not arrive in my account. It is now about three weeks late.

I have called my tenant several times, but he never answers or calls me back. What can I do? Thank you for your help.

G Brazier, Solihull

Dear Mr Brazier,

As a few weeks have already passed since the rent was due, it is now time to take action to claim the money you are owed. Consumer champion Which? recommends making a formal, written demand.

"Request that the outstanding arrears be paid immediately and ask the tenant to ensure that all future rental payments are made on the due date," it said. "And state your intention to take legal action if the rent isn't paid."

If your tenant has a guarantor, it's also worth chasing the rent up this way.

Should all that fail, you can take action to evict your tenant and claim possession of your property under the Housing Act 1988 - but only once the next month's rent is due, making him two months in arrears.

At that point, you can serve him with a Section 8 notice. And if he ignores that, you can obtain a court order to proceed with the eviction anyway.

If you have landlord insurance, it is worth checking to see if rent arrears and costs related to evicting a problem tenant are covered by your policy.

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.

Tenants Accused of Turning 3 Bedrooms Into 10