Is this ex tenant worth taking to Court?

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    Is this ex tenant worth taking to Court?

    I have an ex tenant who left owing eight months rent and said she would not pay the rent as she wanted to set-off against disrepair.

    She says she is on EESA and DLA disability and that's her only source of income.

    She says if I sue her for rent arrears she will submit a counterclaim for disrepair which she has been told by a lawyer will wipe out the rent arrears.

    What should I do?

    Is it expensive going to Court and if she wins, do I have to pay her costs? How long does it all take? Can I represent myself or do I need a lawyer? What does she need to prove in order to succeed in set-off?

    #2
    Was there disrepair? What condition was the property in?What was the rent and what was owing? How long was she your tenant?

    Comment


      #3
      Is your claim below £10k? If so then you should definitely do so, if only to not let them get away with it. If you win you can send the ‘sheriffs’ (High Ct Enforcement Agents, like bailiffs on steroids) after her and make her life difficult, I would always try doing so if someone owes me money.

      You can raise the claim yourself under wwe.moneyclaim.gov.uk and it’s a fairly simple process. Costs are limited in the Small Claims Track (below £10k claim value) meaning you normally wouldn’t have to pay the other party’s costs (unless you behaved unreasonably which on a pure rent arrears claim is somewhat difficult to imagine). You will have to pay a court fee to issue the claim, the claim is then sent to the defendant and they have two weeks time to defend or counterclaim, if they do nothing you can request judgment by default (‘CCJ’). If they do defend and/or counterclaim then the claim is transferred to the defendant’s local county court hearing centre for further processing and eventually a hearing (for this you’ll have to pay a hearing fee). Neither party needs representation at the hearing and in the many claims that I’ve been to court with I’ve always found a very cooperative and competent judge who tried to find the right and just outcome (whether I won or lost!)

      Good luck!

      Comment


        #4
        I'd forget any disrepair claim, it's a red herring and not important here.

        I have no doubt that you would win but-

        If she is claiming ESA and DLA/PIP then how much you can claim from those benefits as a 3rd party deduction (once you have obtained a court order) is limited.

        The defaulting tenant will have to pay something, and will have the debt noted on records.

        But the money that you get from a 3rd party benefit deduction will probably not seem worth the effort.
        Both of those are disability benefits.
        It would be about £3.25 a week from ESA.
        I'm not sure if you can even attach 3rd party debts to DLA/PIP, in my time advising on disability benefits I've not heard of it being done but would have to check the legislation and the DWP guidance on DLA/PIP.

        Comment


          #5
          You would have to ask lower Court for permission to escalate claim to High Court before you can consider HCE'O.s.
          As with most legal processes, you have to consider cost vs benefit, but I would register a CCJ.

          Comment


            #6
            This makes me so mad - why do people think they can live rent free? Why is it not a criminal offence - taking something and not paying is theft isn't it?

            I would certainly look at the MCOL process for under £10k as it is relatively simple - assuming the disrepair claim is just a threat and the house was maintained!

            Good luck

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by mariner View Post
              You would have to ask lower Court for permission to escalate claim to High Court before you can consider HCE'O.s.
              As with most legal processes, you have to consider cost vs benefit, but I would register a CCJ.
              This 'asking' is nothing but a formality. The transfer up of a judgment above £600 is not contentious.

              Comment


                #8
                "She says if I sue her for rent arrears she will submit a counterclaim for disrepair which she has been told by a lawyer will wipe out the rent arrears."

                From my experience no lawyer will advise you unless you put money on their account and give them an instruction to deal with your case. I certainly did not manage to get any info.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Isn't the use of HCEO for chasing debts a discretionary order ?
                  Thunderbirds are go

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Given what was said in regards how much time and effort you would have to put in to claim a few £ from her benefits i doubt that side is worth it, but getting the CCJ registered would be something i would do to ensure others knew of her character going forward, if we all did this then as landlords we would be better protected from people like this.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by 45002 View Post
                      Isn't the use of HCEO for chasing debts a discretionary order ?
                      No. Only when you ask for a repossession order to be transferred up to the High Court for enforcement, this depends on whether the judge agrees. A money debt above £600 can be transferred up by a simple court stamp and is all but a formality.

                      Have you never watched ‘the Sheriffs are coming’?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Hudson01 View Post
                        Given what was said in regards how much time and effort you would have to put in to claim a few £ from her benefits i doubt that side is worth it, but getting the CCJ registered would be something i would do to ensure others knew of her character going forward, if we all did this then as landlords we would be better protected from people like this.
                        Yes, absolutely. Also, you can never be sure of what they claim is actually true. I would happily tell people who I have arrears with that I’m on benefits, if that’s likely to make them go away...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I feel your pain, truly. But the cost Vs benefit here is not in your favour. Even if you're completely in the right, it will be a long and costly process, and it sounds like you're unlikely to recover the monies involved. From what you describe you'll get very little, or nothing - as it sounds like this person is basically judgement proof.

                          I completely agree with the sentiment of sticking it to them, and they shouldn't treat people like this. But if it was my money, I'd write it up as a bad decision, a chance for learning and move on. I wouldn't sink a penny more into that person.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by hybrice View Post
                            as it sounds like this person is basically judgement proof.
                            Not judgement proof, but that judgement is not going to get you much from someone who is having to survive on benefits as it is.
                            There is an old expression about getting blood out of a stone.

                            Despite what you may read benefits are far from generous, they have been pared to the bone and most benefits have been frozen for the last 4 years.
                            (Including ESA which is a disability benefit, so much for 'taking care of the most vulnerable' - unless you mean 'taking care' in a mafia sense).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by nukecad View Post
                              Not judgement proof, but that judgement is not going to get you much from someone who is having to survive on benefits as it is.
                              There is an old expression about getting blood out of a stone.
                              Totally agree which is exactly why i do not let to individuals on benefits, if it goes wrong then everything they owe you ..........will always be owed to you !

                              Comment

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