Student has abandoned contractual obligations!

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  • Student has abandoned contractual obligations!

    First post here so Hi to everyone.

    I have a situation that I hope someone on here can help me with. I have a property in Liverpool which is rented to 4 students. Before Christmas, one of the students decided that she couldn't afford to live there any more and walked out unannounced. She refused to answer calls and we had no way of contacting her other than by post. She moved back home in Bolton with her mother and her partner. I sent a letter via recorded delivery asking her to contact us do resolve the situation. She failed to respond. Yesterday as I was "up North" I called at her current address to find out what was going on. It's a nice fairly new 4 bed detatched in a pleasant area with 4 cars on the drive for the couple and their two over 17 kids. She was in but her parents were not, so I asked her for her landline number which she gave me so that I may call her mother. She told me she had no money (she drives an 06 reg car) and wasn't prepared to pay any money to me.

    Today I called her mother who said that she went out of business in November with £100k of debt and that I wouldn't get a penny. She also told me that I am breaking the law calling at her house unannounced and intimidating her daughter! She said she knows this as her partner is a policeman! I have to say that no intimidation at all took place, merely an amicable but fruitless conversation.

    Question. Where do I go from here. I don't want to pursue her ex housemates although I could. I will however do everything I can to get this issue resolved, even if it only serves to damage her credit rating and I get nothing. I think her mom is blagging and I don't believe she's broke for a second. What is the quickest way to let them know I'm serious about taking this further, and what can I do in practical terms? If a CCJ is issued in her name, am I right in thinking that this will also affect the credit rating of the property owner?

    All help will be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Look at the tenancy agreement, the tenants are likely to be jointly and severally liable. Tell them where the fourth tenant now lives and leave it up to them to contact her; if anybody should be taking action it's the three remaining tenants agains the fourth. As it's not your problem directly I would step back, but I appreciate it's a difficult position.

    A CCJ does not affect property, only individuals.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


    • #3
      Thanks guys, your thoughts are much appreciated.


      • #4
        I agree that your best course of action is to put pressure on the other three

        (i) to try to get the missing rent from her
        (ii) to recruit another tenant as soon as possible to take her place - you will need to draw up another AST with new T's name on it; don't just amend the existing one. Even at this time of year there are still students looking for accommodation - if your three remaining ones can't produce anyone soon, then advertise (local shops and website is good), contact Uni Accommodatiuon Office, whatever it takes.

        It's a pain, but from what you've said, it will be less of a pain to find someone else, than to pursue this feckless family through the courts.

        Once you have found a suitable replacement tenant, you'll need to release the original one from the agreement by a deed of surrender, signed by both of you. Otherwise, technically, she could re-appear two weeks/three months down the track and claim she's still the tenant (which she would be).

        Good luck - I let to students and one year I had three back out of one joint AST, in rapid succession (they all fell out with each other!) However, this was before the tenancy began, so I had a bit of time to find new ones. Big Pain. The trouble is, some students love the idea of being grown-up (for 'grown up' read : away from Mum and Dad, stay out all night, have parties in own house, get drunk, do no work, no-body nagging you to do chores, etc) ..but when it comes to being grown up about your obligations on signing as AST...end of rant!
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


        • #5
          I was once a tenant of a couple where the husband was a policeman...they unfairly withheld a deposit and tried to use the fact that he was in that job to intimidate me into not taking the matter further. Failed totally of course but it is not rare! Take no notice. I just told them that I was extremely pleased that he was in the Police because in that case he should know the law and therefore know that I was right. I quite enjoyed winning that one!
          Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me


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