Best options for pursuing rent arrears on tenant that has left the property

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    Best options for pursuing rent arrears on tenant that has left the property

    My current tenants (a couple with two kids) moved into my property in March 2017 on a 36 month AST. They paid their first two monthly rent payments upfront as a lump sum and then rent payments ceased - turned out neither tenant was working. My letting agents didn't inform me of the upfront rent payments or the fact they missed their next two rent payments, and not quite sure how they passed the referencing process in the first place! But that's another issue (I have begun a formal complaint against the letting agent recently)...

    Over the next couple of years, both tenants were in and out of employment and there were significant complications and delays in sorting out housing benefit payments. This resulted in a build up of rent arrears to a sum of £8000+. I know I should have addressed this before it got out of control, but I was going through some very difficult personal and health issues at the time.

    At the end of last year, the male tenant left the property - there were domestic violence issues. I have been in fairly regular contact with him since to try and agree a payment plan for clearing his half of the rent arrears. He tells me he is unemployed and claiming universal credits and so cannot afford to pay anything. He responds to emails but I do not have an address for him. I have contacted a couple of debt collection agencies and they have both said the male tenant does have funds that they could pursue, but I'm not sure how much I can trust them. Feels like a bit of a gamble to pay out more money.

    The other tenant remains in the property (along with the kids) and is also currently unemployed (due to covid). She is getting universal credit contributions which cover the rent payments (I am paid directly) and she is paying £200 per month towards rent arrears, and is generally cooperative.

    So, I am looking for advice on what my best options are for trying to re-coup the rent arrears. All help much appreciated.

    #2


    Sorry to read this, but good luck!

    Advice? In future, start legal action as soon as any rent under- or un-paid. Yes, a valid s8g10 may be served if only 1p is underpaid for only 1 day.

    But only evict with s21 and/or s8g8,10&11. Issue s21 (check if valid here...
    https://nearlylegal.co.uk/section-21-flowchart/

    & s8g8,10&11 TODAY - all names tenants. Inform council housing dept of their history of non-payment and verbally explain "intentionally homeless" to all named tenants

    You could also start MCoL small-claim to add pressume but these lot sound like they've been lulled into a sense of safety from chasing..


    Should we assume there will be no reference or only a full, honest one?
    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
      If the couple were joint tenants there's no individual debt, they both owe all of it.

      If you were able to get £4000 back from the remaining tenant over the next 20 months, I'd call that a win, to be honest.

      Three year AST for a new tenant was a disastrous mistake and the agent were negligent in allowing it, particularly for a tenant who needed to pay more than one month up front for some reason.
      If the agent took 3 years commission in advance, they were more than negligent.
      I'd want to see the results of the credit and reference checks.
      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


        #4
        I'm sorry to say that you probably don't have a hope of getting much of that money back, at least in the short term. Sure, keep trying to get him to stick to the payment plan, but more in hope than expectation. Needless to say, sack the agent.

        Comment


          #5
          Many thanks for your detailed responses.

          theartfullodger I assume your advice re: eviction is to prevent further debt being accrued. It's not going to help me recoup any of the current rent arrears?

          Regarding the MCoL, I do not have an address for the tenant who has left the property and also he is (apparently) unemployed. I guess the main point is to add pressure, but based on the guidance I can't proceed without an address for him?

          Comment


            #6
            westzeus77 You can only sue both people if they were on a joint tenancy, there's only one debt and they both owe it all.
            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

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