83 per cent of landlords experience tenancy breaches

  • Common breaches include failing to clean the property, damaging it, smoking, keeping pets and redecorating without permission
  • 45 per cent of landlords don’t inspect their properties every six months

Direct Line is highlighting the importance of residential landlords having their properties inspected regularly, with research revealing1 83 per cent of landlords have had tenants breach their tenancy agreement.  

Many tenancy agreement breaches could be picked up by regular inspections. The most common breaches include not keeping the property sufficiently clean and maintained (36 per cent) and failing to notify a landlord of required repairs (29 per cent). Other breaches include damaging or making alterations to the property, keeping a pet in the property, smoking/vaping in the property and redecorating without permission all of which were reported by over a quarter of those landlords surveyed.

Despite this, only just over half of landlords (55 per cent) conduct six-monthly property inspections.  Whilst a further 21 per cent make only annual checks, with one in ten (10 per cent) landlords admitting that they only visit their properties at the start and end of the tenancy. Fourteen per cent of landlords visit their properties less often than that, or only if they suspect there is an issue.

Breaches in tenancy agreements experienced by landlords.

Reason for breach

Proportion of breaches

Failing to pay rent on time (or not at all)

38 per cent

Failing to keep the property sufficiently clean and maintained

36 per cent

Failure to notify the landlord of things that need repairing

29 per cent

Damaging or making alterations to the property

28 per cent

Keeping a pet in the property

28 per cent

Smoking/vaping in the property

27 per cent

Redecorating without permission

25 per cent

Causing a disturbance or nuisance to neighbouring properties

23 per cent

Subletting or moving in people without notifying the landlord

15 per cent

Changing locks

15 per cent

Tampering with or covering smoke or carbon monoxide alarms

10 per cent


1 per cent

N/A – I have not experienced any breaches in tenancy agreements

17 per cent

Source: Direct Line Landlord Insurance

The most common sanction for broken tenancy agreements is to have money deducted from the tenant’s deposit, to issue the tenant with a written or verbal warning or to ask the tenants to pay for the damages or work themselves.

Actions imposed on tenants who have broken the rules of the tenancy agreement. 

Action Imposed

Proportion of actions

Money deducted from their deposit

38 per cent

Gave them a written or verbal warning

32 per cent

Made them pay for the damages or work

28 per cent

Did not return the deposit

26 per cent

Evicted the tenant

23 per cent

Made them rectify the issue

23 per cent


2 per cent

N/A – I did not take any action

6 per cent

Source: Direct Line Landlord Insurance

Sarah Casey, Landlord Product Manager at Direct Line commented: “Property inspections shouldn’t feel intrusive for tenants and are all about building good relationships and keeping an eye out for any emerging issues. Early intervention can often stop these from developing into a bigger problem that requires landlords to take further action.

“Landlords should also make sure that tenancy deposits are held in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme to help cover costs if, for example, the tenant leaves the property in a filthy state, has broken furniture or removed property supplied by the landlord.”

To help landlords deal with issues such as breaches in tenancy agreements, all Direct Line landlord policies come with a Legal Advice Helpline, provided by DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Limited, which provides unlimited access to a team of legal advisors, who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round in England and Wales. So, whether they are facing a serious legal issue or just want to check something with a solicitor, they can consult with a team of legal experts at any time. In addition, landlords also get access to online legal templates, guides and interactive tools with DAS Businesslaw. Allowing landlords to quickly draft, duplicate, download and electronically sign a comprehensive range of documents, including tenancy agreements, section notices, late payment and property damage/alteration letters, plus much more.

For more information on Direct Line for Business Landlord Insurance please visit: www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/landlord-insurance


Direct Line Group

Unni Henry 

PR Manager

Email: [email protected]

Notes to editors:

1.      Survey conducted for Direct Line for Business by Opinium of 500 UK Landlords between 31st October 2023 – 7th November 2023

About Direct Line business insurance

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Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting https://www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk