Rent arrears recovery options

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    Rent arrears recovery options

    I am trying to help my friend who owes £6,000 rent arrears to his ex-landlord.
    The ex-landlord broke the tenancy agreement first by failing to fix the property causing all sorts of problems.
    The led to My friend ended up against my advice withholding rent because he was spending time away from the property at his mother's house because of the disrepair issues.
    The ex-landlord is now threatening to sue the ex-tenant for the rent arrears and says he must pay the £6,000 in the next 24 hours or face arrest and bankruptcy. He says he intends to send some heavies round to the ex-tenant's address and smash the place up.
    The problem is the ex-tenant is only claiming DWP benefits. He doesn't have that sort of money and has nothing apart from DWP benefits.
    What can be done? If he loses in Court, what then? Stripped off all his benefits?
    My friend, the ex-tenant is desperately trying to get a loan to pay of £6,000.
    What is likely to happen at Court? Will he be bankrupt or jailed?
    Will he be stripped off all his benefits?

    The rent he withheld has been spent on deposit and 5 weeks rent on a new property in Central London (they asked for a lot of deposit and up front rent).

    The landlord is a bully and failed to fix the disrepair when reported but still kept accepting rent until a time that the conditions within the apartment got so bad the tenant had to live with his mother and sleep on her sofa. I advised him not to withhold rent but he had to move out of there because it was becoming dangerous.

    What can be done against an extenant whose only source of income is dwp benefits please?

    I am trying to put some form of repayment plan together but don't know what to do.

    please help. It feels very wrong that the ex-tenant has been treated like this. He paid his rent on time for thirteen yars and only got into rent arrears when the landlord stopped fixing things like the roof, flooding from the bath, washing machine not working, smashed window, pigeons living in the roof through a hole, rats, etc.

    #2
    You are right, withholding the rent was a terrible idea.

    The landlord is threatening something that is either illegal (sending heavies round) or impossible (24 hours payment).

    If the landlord does want to take your friend to court, they can do so, but it will take several weeks (minimum) but more likely several months.
    If your friend loses (which is likely), they would agree a payment plan which they could afford,
    That would be a small amount per week or month.

    Making your friend bankrupt is a possibility, but it wouldn'r really help the landlord, because it would pretty much cancel the debt.
    You can't go to prison for owing money (other than for council tax).
    It won't affect your friend's benefits.

    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


      #3
      And report the threats to the police asap.

      Comment


        #4
        If any heavies turn up or any actions giving rise to concern tenant should 'phone 999 and later request a CRN (crime ref number).

        Landlords and their agents/heavies can and have been fined and/or imprisoned for harassment or illegal eviction.

        And keep a log of any threats are unpleasant actions.
        .
        Feel free to call Shelter free helpline 0808 800 4444. but expect a wait.
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          You can't go to prison for owing money (other than for council tax).
          You sort of can if you go down a certain route, for contempt of court.

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you for all the replies.
            The ex-landlord has texted me and is now getting very abusive.
            Saying that he intends to get the Court to order that every penny of the ex-tenant's benefits will be seized. Surely this isn't possible?
            I have tried to explain calmly to defuse the situation but this is one very angry and unpleasant landlord.
            I have offered £10 per week repayment.
            Do you know what a Court would order?
            The ex-tenant can't afford anymore. He has credit card debts and the source of income is all DWP benefits.

            Comment


              #7
              Keep txts (? or screenshots of..) and any other evidence.

              See this for advice on harassment...
              https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...ivate_landlord


              So sorry, this sort of landlord should be deported, regardless of their nationality or origin, the ruining things for decent landlords. Good luck & best wishes

              You could always refer this toad of a landlord to this thread..
              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


                #8
                Originally posted by ruttger View Post
                Saying that he intends to get the Court to order that every penny of the ex-tenant's benefits will be seized. Surely this isn't possible?
                Of course it isn't - they won't deduct anything from benefits to pay an ex-landlord.
                https://www.gov.uk/government/public...plier-handbook

                Bailiffs could seize assets, like a car, but must leave essential items.
                https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/de...iffs-can-take/

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ruttger View Post
                  Saying that he intends to get the Court to order that every penny of the ex-tenant's benefits will be seized. Surely this isn't possible?
                  No it isn't.

                  I have offered £10 per week repayment.
                  Do you know what a Court would order?
                  If the landlord doesn't accept the payment plan offered, the landlord is actually going to have a tougher time in court.

                  The ex-tenant can't afford anymore. He has credit card debts and the source of income is all DWP benefits.
                  This person needs some help, because they can't afford to live where and how they are trying to live.
                  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
                    As said above, withholding rent was a bad idea but...... he is where he is right now but the idea of being arrested is ridiculous, its all bluff. The post about reporting his threats to the police is the right one, he could be that unpleasant that he will do something, most do not but then again is it worth the risk, report any threats to harm or damage property. The landlord knows that with your friend on benefits his chance of getting all the money back is practically nil and he is angry. The idea of your friend obtaining a loan for the £6k is also a non starter..... what lender in their right mind would advance that sort of money to someone who's sole income is from benefits ? If the landlord wants the money then he has to go to court like the rest of us and take his chances (however slim they may be). Do not accept threats as a natural consequence of owing money.... it is illegal, involve the Police.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you Hudson I greatly appreciate this advice.

                      I have started screenshotting the evidence for the police report.

                      The landlord doesn't actually know where his ex-tenant now lives and I don't intend to tell him, but I have a signed letter saying I can act on his behalf, so all correspondence will come through me.

                      Whilst I have never advocating withholding rent, I feel that poor conditions of the apartment could be argued against the arrears, particularly as at one point during last winter there was a hole in the roof and pigeons were nesting in the attic and one even escaped into the bedroom. Fortunately I have photos and videos of all the problems.

                      Sadly, a loan company has offered a loan to my friend. I have advised him to turn it down as that is only going to make matters worse.

                      It's difficult reading but I have read elsewhere on this forum that those on the legacy benefits are capped at having to repay a very small figure back each week, something like £3.70 per week for rent arrears. Is there anyone who is an expert on this area of law, or can provide a link to the legislation so I can look into this?

                      Thank you again

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi, is it correct that the maximum recovery permitted from benefits for rent arrears is £3.60 per week?
                        Just trying to help my friend who is an ex-tenant and unfortunately ran up some rent arrears but I am trying to sort out a repayment plan. I had initially offered £10 per week repayment but my sister is a social worker and said only offer £3.60 per week because this is the maximum that a Court could order but she couldn't point me in the direction of any legislation. So far all I have is what she has said and I need something more concrete. Does anyone here know please? thanks

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Can't advised as to the law however I would I imagine that a LL would be unlikely to accept £3.60 pw as even with small arrears this would take forever to pay off. Offer what can be afforded so that you minimise the risk of being taken to court and having a CCJ imposed.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Former tenant rent arrears are not a priority debt.

                            Yes it is 5% of the single person income support rate. But this should only be offered at that rate if the person has no income other than means tested benefits.

                            Offering the smallest amount possible is sensible but I always used to advocate paying as much as possible over the agreed rate to reduce the arrears as quickly as possible.

                            If you are worried they won't accept that, make it a part 36 offer, so you may avoid costs if taken to court. See part 36 of the civil procedure rules.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Think yes, £3:60 but only if landlord is council or housing association. Private landlord can;t I think touch benefits.
                              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

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