Landlords and letting agents unite against 'tenant-humiliation' practices

Recent media coverage of a letting agent who has started erecting signs on the properties of tenants who have failed to pay their rent has shocked many property professionals and attracted much criticism. There have also been questions raised about the legality of this practice.

David Salusbury, Chairman, NLA, said: "It is very frustrating for landlords if tenants fail to pay their rent and the system does not always provide easy channels for landlords to take action. During these leaner economic times, landlords are as stretched as everyone else and tenants have a responsibility to keep up with their payments.

"However, there are legal channels available for landlords to gain possession if absolutely necessary. The law is on the side of landlords in this situation but the courts can be slow to deliver, with delays of six months not uncommon. Despite these frustrations, we strongly advise landlords against supporting this kind of behaviour. It is fundamentally a flawed idea."

Ian Potter, Head of operations for ARLA, supporting this view, said: "This is almost certainly an illegal activity, contravening data protection and planning laws. Apart from that, what do the agent and landlord expect to achieve, and how do they think they will appear to the majority of people in the street? Taking the law into your own hands is dangerous in many more ways than one.

"Any letting agent who encourages landlords to take this sort of action should be avoided. At the end of the day, this kind of behaviour is severely detrimental to communities and the relationship between letting agents, landlords and tenants."