Rent arrears recovery from mentally disabled ex-tenant

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Rent arrears recovery from mentally disabled ex-tenant

    Does anyone have experience of recovering rent arrears from my former ex-tenant? Tenant left owing £14,000 with £2,000 of damage. Hasn't been to Court. Tenant abandoned property.
    Tenant's representative says Tenant is receiving DWP social security benefits - sent me a rude email saying he could not even afford £1 per week.
    A letter has also turned up saying the Tenant is mentally disabled and does not have mental capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 therefore he is, apparently, free to get away with this. I haven't checked with a solicitor what my legal footing is but his representative says that he cannot be sued and I cannot recover any money.
    Apparently he disputes all the arrears anyway and will counterclaim for harassment and dangerous housing conditions, but what I need to know is can I sue someone who does not have Mental Capacity for rent arrears or not? Very confusing.

    #2
    Originally posted by OstridB View Post
    ....................
    A letter has also turned up saying the Tenant is mentally disabled and does not have mental capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 ................
    OK. When you (? you ?) assessed them then signed them up for tenancy, did any concerns over mental capacity come up? Assuming not, then I'd write a calm, polite letter to tenant, copy "legal representative" asking for evidence of change of capacity.

    How many s8's for arrears have you served? Any MCoL for money owed? Did damage not come up during your regular inspections??

    What authority have you seen giving this "legal representative" the right to act for them??

    Could be a scam: That tenant has played before.

    What were tenant's landlord references like & credit checks, please?

    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      When they signed up for the tenancy they were in work and came with glowing references and presented as mentally well.

      The evidence of mental capacity has come from the Tenant's psychiatrist who says he works for the Ministry of Justice at Mental Health Tribunals.

      I didn't serve an S8 or MCOL as the Tenant abandoned the property claiming I harassed him.

      I have never done any inspections, not since 2014.

      The Tenant's references and credit checks were good, no adverse material.

      I'm left with a house which is filthy and with huge rent arrears. Tenant is also claiming I have caused his loss of mental capacity.

      Comment


        #4
        I'm also aware that there will be costs if I sue for the rent arrears as it's over £10k. If I lose, the Judge could order that I pay all the costs

        Comment


          #5
          I don't know what to do. I want my £14k rent arrears back and £2k for the damage. Tenant is disputing everything, saying rent arrears should be "set off" against harassment and disrepair. Tenancy Agreement contains clause saying Tenant can set-off rent against disrepair.

          Comment


            #6
            I don't think there's anything in the Mental Capacity Act that says you can't sue someone who is without mental capacity.
            A court won't act against someone without capacity to understand what's happening, on the basis they can't have a fair trial, but it's not a case of getting away with it, the court would want evidence of some kind of evaluation process.

            And that works both ways, because anyone with mental capacity to counterclaim has the capacity to answer the original claim.

            If the tenant doesn't have any money, any legal action will simply be punitive, to get a ccj on the tenant's credit record.
            And, if they genuinely have become mentally ill, that's unlikely to be an issue.

            I suspect that the representative is simply trying to put you off and I would decline to deal with them unless they can show they have power of attorney of some kind, or are a solicitor.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you for the response.

              The representative is very rude indeed. He has stated the Tenant can only afford the sum of £3.70 if I got a Judgment and said that they will dispute everything and make a counterclaim but that they don't agree and will not pay anything until a Court orders it. They say I am hiding the disrepair and the harassment, which I deny.

              I don't understand why or how he arrived at the measly figure of £3.70 per week? The rent arrears are £14k and I will be dead by the time that would be paid off if I accept £3.70 per week.

              Comment


                #8
                If your ex-tenant does have MH issues the the 'representative' is probably their appointee, or maybe their Court of Protection deputy, and possibly/probably also has POA over their affairs.
                https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/fa...-someone-else/

                But regardless of that - if you ex-tenant is on benefits then you have very little chance of recovering the monies outstanding at any meaningful rate.

                As he is no longer your tenant you cannot get a 3rd party deduction for rent arrears (as part of a Managed Payment To Landlord) from his benefits.

                If you go to court for the arrears then any court award is going to take into account that his only income is benefits and award only a very minimum repayment.
                This will likely be set at the rate that the DWP are allowed deduct rent arrears from benefits as part of a MPTL, which is where the representative is getting his £3.70 from (I believe it's actually £3.65 but would have to double check)..

                Comment


                  #9
                  They've "arrived" at the figure because that's the maximum that can be deducted from non-universal credit benefits and paid to you directly for rent arrears during a tenancy.

                  Until you see some evidence of the relationship of the "representative" to the tenant, and that they can speak on their behalf, anything that they're saying is academic.

                  As a guide, if they were a solicitor, they'd be quoting specific sections of any legislation.
                  When someone simply uses the name of some legislation in a formal communication it's usually a clue that they don't really know what they're talking about.

                  I'd suggest talking to a solicitor, as I think they'll suggest pursuing the issue is probably a waste of time.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Double checked.

                    If it's a legacy benefit, ESA/JSA/IS, then the maximum deduction from benefit for arrears is £3.65 a week.

                    With a court order for compensation (because he is no longer your tenant) the court would be likely to set the same figure of £3.65 a week, no matter which benefit(s) he is claiming.

                    If he were still your tenant, and is claiming UC, then there could be a larger deduction for arrears at 20% of his UC standard amount.
                    But as he is no longer your tenant that does not apply.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      There is no reason you cannot sue a person who lacks capacity, if indeed the correct test has been applied and conclusion reached by a psychiatrist, but the court would want a litigation friend to be appointed.

                      In your position you need to accept the 3.70. It is what a court would award. Ask for an undertaking by the ex tenant that should their financial position improve they will increase their offer. It really is a waste of time trying to get more because you won't.

                      Reassess every year by writing to them asking for an up to date personal financial statement. If monies are still outstanding after 3 to 4 years issue a MCOL to ensure the debt keeps running.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by nukecad View Post
                        If it's a legacy benefit, ESA/JSA/IS, then the maximum deduction from benefit for arrears is £3.65 a week.
                        Shelter say it's £3.70 (although I should have remembered to start off dubious of anything they publish!)

                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It's 5 per cent of the income support rate for a single person with no premiums.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            What it is is an indicator that whoever wrote that letter is a know it all mate of a professional tenant who has few or no mental capacity issues.
                            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well it's easily proven. Ask for copies of the benefit award letter and check the advisor is who they say they are by doing a Google search. They are probably a debt advisor working for a mental health charity. There are lots of debt advisors working out of charities. Perennial, Mind, MacMillans, they've all got them.

                              jpkeates that's an interesting assumption!

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X