We recently found out that a tenant in one of our Ipswich rental flats had stopped paying the rent. We tried to phone her and got no answer. We called round and there was no reply. Things looked ominous – visions of court proceedings loomed and our stress levels soared.
The advice from a letting agent was to try again to make contact but then to give her 24 hours’ notice stating you we would be checking the flat (basically to see whether she was still there or whether she’d left without giving us the keys) and then to start court proceedings.
When we eventually did make contact, the tenant was horrified that the rent had not been paid. It turned out that someone had been fraudulently using her credit cards and so, when she checked her bank balance, it looked like the rent had gone out. She hadn’t answered her mobile as she’d accidentially dropped it down the toilet and so had had to buy a new one. She’s now promised to ask her parents for the rent money and to let us know the situation.
Lesson: don’t automatically assume the worse; don’t get stressed until you have to and always make contact in a pleasant way to start with.
Update: two years later this tenant is still with us, still paying her rent and still happy with her flat. We played fair with her and she played fair with us.