rent arrears, will I get anything back?

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    #16
    What the solicitor is not telling you is that you will be lucky to recover a penny from the tenant against their £5k costs. Just keep it simple and do an MCOL claim yourself.

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      #17
      5k for the solicitor to do what? All what you have to do is to send a letter of claim aka letter before action and then follow with MCOL.
      Do it yourself to learn so that it’ll be handy in the future

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        #18
        In fact, if you’re an individual rather than a company, you don’t even need letter before action, just proceed to MCOL

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          #19
          Are you sure that pre-action letter is not needed ? I have always issued one and then waited for 14 days.

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            #20
            Thank you for all replies, especially jpkeates, whose response was most detailed and helpful.

            It is interesting to receive all points of view as you are clearly all landlords more experienced than myself.

            I note that some of you say "issue MCOL proceedings if only to give her a CCJ as a future flag to other landlords and to prevent her accessing credit". However, the Court issue fee is over £500 so by doing so, I feel I am throwing good money after bad.

            What I am trying to tweak out of the combined knowledge of you all, is this: Will I ever get any money back at all? Given that the odds are stacked against me. The ex-tenant has now left. I have evidence she is definitely in receipt of disability benefits, not back to work benefits but the benefits designed to support someone with a long-term disability and not forcing them back to work.

            My question is: if I go down the legal route, and have a court hearing, and I get awarded a CCJ, what then? Given her status, is it entirely correct that the most I could ever expect to recover is £3.71 per week?

            I am not a lawyer and have no legal training and often the way things are explained by solicitors and also printed online are confusing and seem to focus on small details. I am a layman and I would like to explore all options to get my money back.

            I acknowledge that she may be mentally unwell or disabled but her conduct so far has not been pleasant by making up spurious allegations of sexual harassment in an attempt to deter me from taking action.

            If I were to issue MCOL proceedings, the rent arrears so huge that they are bound to attract a Costs Order. I don't know much about this but have read recently many an article which warns about starting a legal action because if you lose you not only pay your costs but that of your opponent's. Nothing is guaranteed in life and if I lost.... what then?

            Have any of you succeeded in recovery of large rent arrears from a tenant who is no longer your tenant but claiming benefits?

            Surely, there must be hundreds if not thousands of landlords who are in this situation up and down the country.

            I read that she is given a small amount of DWP money every two weeks to survive on and that cannot be attached, but I don't understand why these sort of tenants cannot be held responsible for their conduct.

            So, in simple terms, may I please enquire of you esteemed and more experienced landlords what I should really do? The question is: will I get anything back given she is on benefits if I get a Judgement? Can I send the bailiffs round to her to negotiate an enhanced repayment plan? What if she puts in a defence ( which I read is common, ie the house was falling to bits, he molested me, etc)? Or is this just a case that my business formula was defective, there is no meaningless form of recovery from her benefits and I must just move on and swallow the bullet.

            Will I only get £3.71 per week at the very least?

            Thank you all

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              #21
              *meaningful, not meaningless. LOL

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                #22
                I would try to claim only £2000 to start with so as not to pay high MCOL fees (I think it will be only £105) and see what happens. If it works I would issue more claims.
                .

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by Londonhowling View Post
                  So, in simple terms, may I please enquire of you esteemed and more experienced landlords what I should really do? The question is: will I get anything back given she is on benefits if I get a Judgement? Can I send the bailiffs round to her to negotiate an enhanced repayment plan?
                  ...
                  Will I only get £3.71 per week at the very least?
                  Bailiffs can only put pressure on if there are assets they could seize. If she owns a car then it might be possible to get something.
                  They can, in theory seize things like furniture (leaving essential items), but it's not usually worth their time.

                  My reading of the regulations is that as an ex-landlord you can't get any money paid from benefits, even £3.71, but I know some people disagree with that.

                  If you know her bank account, you can apply for a third party debt order. But that will only get any money that is in the account at the time, and she may apply for a hardship payment from the account. It's also quite expensive, and requires another hearing.

                  If she gets a job then you can apply for an attachment of earnings order. She may then be better off leaving the job rather than paying...

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                    #24
                    If someone who owes you money has no money or assets, your only chance of recovering it is if their situation changes in the future,

                    Any action that is simply punitive is, from one perspective, sending good money after bad.
                    But it does remind the debtor that their actions can have consequences and does penalise their behaviour.

                    There is a huge difference between someone who has experienced a financial crisis that has affected others and someone who has elected to exploit someone else for gain.
                    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).

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                      #25
                      Thank you. I understand that I cannot get the rent arrears out of an ex-tenant who is solely reliant upon benefits.

                      But what if I did issue the MCOL claim and she defends it? She's quite cocky and said I should expect a lengthy legal battle.

                      If she defends a MCOL claim, will I have to appoint a solicitor or barrister?

                      Surely there will be a hearing, which will cost yet more?

                      And what if the judge favours her counterclaims and defences?

                      Is there the real chance she could conjur something up, like I didn't maintain the property, and that would mean the judge dismisses my rent arrears claim? What then?

                      Who pays as I don't understand the law of costs? Surely the loser pays not only their costs but their opponent's costs.... which could mean she could win and I'd have to pay for it all. Very unsure now.

                      I doubt suing someone is that simple and there must be costs involved if they submit a defence and counterclaim.

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                        #26
                        I would be be very concerned at her accusation and blackmail for sexual harassment. This is like a black cloud and I would take her seriously and nip it in the bud. Could you log this with the authorities from whom she receives disability or rental income to safeguard yourself?

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                          #27
                          Originally posted by Londonhowling View Post
                          Thank you. I understand that I cannot get the rent arrears out of an ex-tenant who is solely reliant upon benefits.

                          But what if I did issue the MCOL claim and she defends it? She's quite cocky and said I should expect a lengthy legal battle.

                          If she defends a MCOL claim, will I have to appoint a solicitor or barrister?

                          Surely there will be a hearing, which will cost yet more?

                          And what if the judge favours her counterclaims and defences?

                          Is there the real chance she could conjur something up, like I didn't maintain the property, and that would mean the judge dismisses my rent arrears claim? What then?

                          Who pays as I don't understand the law of costs? Surely the loser pays not only their costs but their opponent's costs.... which could mean she could win and I'd have to pay for it all. Very unsure now.

                          I doubt suing someone is that simple and there must be costs involved if they submit a defence and counterclaim.
                          A lot of questions there...

                          1. You can, if they have assets that can be seized. You also cannot be sure, without disclosure, if they can or can't pay it.

                          2. A defence is her legal right, it's part of the rule of law. It's expected that claims will be defended usually, it shouldn't stop you from filing a claim if you're sure you're in the right.

                          3. No, assuming it's below £10k then it'll likely be assigned to the small claims track, which Judges fully expect a lot of Litigants in Person. You can appoint a solicitor or barrister if you wish, but that would be at your cost and not claimable against the defendant (only in small claims)

                          4. You're getting WAY ahead of yourself. Anyone can make any claim, they need proof or it will be dismissed. That applies to both parties. If either you or her walk into court and make a claim without evidence, don't expect the outcome you want.

                          5. Complicated. In small claims, there are no costs awards (usually - unless someone's behaviour is particularly egregious). So in small claims, you'll get your award + court fee, nothing more. In civil court you can claim all your expenses, solicitors, barristers etc but you'll rarely be awarded all of them, the Judges conduct summary assessment and grant you an award. If you're litigant in person in civil court you can claim £19/hour for your own time.

                          Basically, if it's small claims the Court is trying to keep things as reasonable as possible. If it's fast/multi-track all bets are off and it becomes a somewhat more dangerous game, where if you lose you will be slammed with the other parties costs.

                          IF it's small claims, there are no costs beyond your court application fee. You submit your claim, and you're asking the Court to make a money order against the Defendant to the value of the debt + your court fee.

                          Re the threat of saying you sexually assaulted her, whatever it was. Assuming you did nothing wrong, it again requires proof (serious proof - as in, beyond reasonable doubt), and remind her lying to the police is a crime under Section 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act and punishable by up to 6 months in prison, which you will report if she is so irresponsible as to lie about something so serious.

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                            #28
                            There can be additional court fees in the small claims track.
                            There's a fee if there's an actual hearing, which would normally be awarded against the person who loses the case.

                            As a general point, it's quite hard to defend a claim for rent owed.
                            Rent is owed and it's either paid or it isn't.
                            There's no automatic right of offset in English Law, so the tenant can't claim (for example) that they had to pay for things that the landlord should have paid for - the rent is still owed (Shelter claim they have a process that works otherwise, but I don't see how),

                            So the tenant has to counter claim, not defend.
                            Which is where I imagine the sexual harassment idea has come from (assuming that it's not true).
                            The most obvious question would be why it wasn't reported, given that evidence is unlikely.

                            The most common claim is disrepair and I wouldn't be surprised to see that coming up as well.

                            Lots and lots of MCOL claims are resolved because one party doesn't turn up to the hearing.
                            It's one thing to lie when you complete a web form, another to do it in public in front of a judge.
                            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


                              #29
                              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                              There can be additional court fees in the small claims track.
                              Lots and lots of MCOL claims are resolved because one party doesn't turn up to the hearing.
                              It's one thing to lie when you complete a web form, another to do it in public in front of a judge.
                              Quote right, it's also worth noting that she'd have to swear it on a formal document, signed by a statement of truth:

                              "[I believe][the (claimant or as may be) believes] that the facts stated in this [name document being verified] are true. I understand] [The (claimant or as may be) understands that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.’"

                              Which you'd have to be pretty brazen to sign your name next to and go in front of a Judge with no evidence...

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Thanks for the helpful replies.

                                Tenant texted me this afternoon saying she intends to make a disrepair counterclaim against me and has appointed a No Win No Fee disrepair solicitor. She remains silent on the sexual harassment allegation she made.

                                She has invited me to write off the rent arrears and she will drop the disrepair. She says she has photos and videos showing the flat had mould and damp, there was a broken window and numerous other defects.

                                How will this be dealt with in Court? I feel overwhelmed and would definitely need a solicitor to represent me. Sounds like it's going to cost £££££

                                Comment

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