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The most common secret that tenants in the UK don’t want revealed is making excuses to try and avoid paying the rent, followed by keeping pets without permission, a new survey has found.

Some 63% said they have tried to avoid paying rent and 45% have pets without letting the landlord know while 45% have damaged walls by knocking nails into them, according to the report from online letting agent Property Let By Us.

The research also reveals that nearly a quarter of tenants confessed that they have rarely, or never cleaned their oven, 18% haven’t mowed the lawn regularly, 11% have dumped rubbish at the front and in the garden and 6% have sublet a room. When it comes to expensive damage to property, 4% admit to burning holes in floor coverings and concealing them with mats.
 
‘Our research shows that large numbers of tenants have made excuses to avoid paying the rent, which is worrying. The latest industry figures show that tent arrears are on the rise again, up by 7.2% in 2014, an increase of 4,600 tenancies compared to the same quarter in 2013,’ said Jane Morris, the firm’s managing director.
 
She pointed out that one way that landlords can ensure they protect themselves from arrears and potentially bad tenants, is by conducting thorough tenant reference checks. ‘These background checks on tenants are so important. Picking the right tenant can save a long, costly eviction process further down the line,’ said Morris.
 
‘Landlords need to be thorough in conducting background checks and reference gathering, including bank statements for the past three months, previous landlord references to check the tenant paid rent on time, credit checks, incorporating fraud indicators and employer references. It’s important to also check identity and proof of current address, ideally tax or insurance documents, and talk at length to a prospective tenant,’ she explained.
 
She added that landlords should also make regular checks on their property during the tenancy, so they can spot any breaches. In addition, landlords should also check each rental property thoroughly for signs of common damage, which can often be missed at the end of the tenancy, potentially costing landlords hundreds of pounds.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.