Enforcing a CCJ - Tenant may not have assets now, but what about future???

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    Enforcing a CCJ - Tenant may not have assets now, but what about future???

    In brief:
    I have been awarded a CCJ against and ex-tenant who left owing rent arrears and some substantial and expensive damage to the property, CCJ awarded for monthly instalments but nothing paid.

    In detail: (apologies for the length but it helps paint the picture)
    My ex-tenant originally moved in with her partner, at the time I was led to believe they were both working and indeed we had no problems for the first 18 months, then her partner left her, pregnant and unemployed and the rent arrears started to build gradually, being decent people we (stupidly in hindsight) allowed the arrears to creep up while she went through pregnancy, gave birth and brought the baby home , this was done in the hope that things would then return to normal and rent would be covered as she would need a stable home for her young family. Quite the opposite in fact, arrears grew rapidly as all rent payments stopped, so we applied for the HB to be paid direct on the basis of the amount of arrears and the tenant said she would not object to that. Eventually this was granted and we received a small payment from HB, when we tried to see the tenant to offer an arrears payment plan that she would be able to cope with we discovered that she had gone without giving any notice and in the process had trashed the house. We then got a demand from HB for repayment of benefit overpaid, the tenant had lied to them and said she was not there for the dates the payment covered (incidentally, we proved otherwise, fought this and won the appeal).

    So we are left clearing up her mess and discovering all her discarded designer clothes, receipts for expensive teeth whitening, hairdressers, etc, etc (my wife was quite jealous at her ‘disposable income’ pampering). After a few months we manage to trace her to her new address and processed a claim through MCOL for an amount which was now over £4700. We were awarded judgement by default and she was ordered to pay £200 per month, as yet, and 8 months on she has not paid 1 penny, this is despite her posting on a social networking site all about her weekend partying exploits and how “life is good, it comes to those who wait, I’ve been good, now it’s my turn” … blah blah blah (her words, not mine!!!).

    My questions that I am looking for answer to therefore are;

    1. Should I consider an ‘Order to obtain Information’? or a ‘Third party debt Order’? as a possible next step. Serving a warrant of execution by bailiff would be pointless as I assume with such a young child she will still be claiming all her benefits and not actually working, there is no car at her new address, and from memory, if her assets were seized for sale at auction, I doubt they would cover her hair being bleached again, let alone the bailiff fees.

    2. If I do nothing to enforce now and then try again in say three years, would the courts look upon this as not attempting to resolve, and possibly rule against me?

    3. If none of my efforts produce any repayment, and the six years that the CCJ is registered for is up, can I claim again for the original debt on the first CCJ plus the six years interest as a new claim?

    I accept that the chances of recovering this debt at the moment are virtually zero, but would hope that I can wait this out in the hope that this person will eventually grow up, appreciate the value of money, maybe get married and buy a house for her loving family life…. At which point I can apply for the charging order to be levied against it


    Any help or advice offered is very much appreciated.

    #2
    The 'order to obtain information' is probably a waste of £50 - there is no way to know if she will tell the truth, and the clerk who conducts the interview will simply ask questions and accept her answers.

    You presumably have her bank account details, but if she had trouble paying rent, I am not sure there will be enogh in there to cover the cost of the TPDO plus the banks fees (£50), let alone any of the debt. Also, being on benefit with a child she may easily be able to 'unfreeze' most of the account.

    You have 6 years to enforce the debt - delaying for 3 years will not affect 'judges opinion', but once the 6 years is up, there is no re-trial!

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Snorkerz

      I did wonder what the point of the order for info was, as being 'under oath' would not prevent a dishonest person from telling a load of lies, although would documents not be needed to back up ludicrous claims?

      Her bank statements were delivered to my property for a couple of months after she did her flit (and for some reason the postman always opened the envelopes before posting them through... strange !!) anyway, this wasnt a case of having trouble paying, it was a case of just not wanting to pay... her income credited from benefits over the six or so weeks that I inadvertantly saw from the bank was over £2500.... and you could follow her expenditure quite easily, little bits on debit card and then big amounts of cash on Fridays and Saturdays!!! She also left utility bill debts in excess of £1200 !! So from all of this I could calculate that taking her approx £400 per week benefits, she was spending around £85 on groceries (online), £40 on cigerettes, £0 on Gas, £0 on Electricity, £0 on Rent and £275 on herself!!! not that this helps me in my TPDO but hopefully puts into perspective her unwillingness to pay.

      Ok, so I must act within the six years, or she gets away with it scot free.

      just one more thing, how many times can you instruct a bailiff for the same debt?

      Many thanks for your answers so far..... very helpful, if a little dis-heartening

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by barry.sullivan@schroders. View Post
        I did wonder what the point of the order for info was, as being 'under oath' would not prevent a dishonest person from telling a load of lies, although would documents not be needed to back up ludicrous claims?
        True, but if asked 'do you have a bank account with several million pounds in it' and she answers no - there is no paperwork that can back that up. One thing the clerk will do is ask the tenant to make an offer (£X per week). However, if she is on benefits, a weekly payment is likely to be less than a fiver.

        Her bank statements were delivered to my property for a couple of months after she did her flit (and for some reason the postman always opened the envelopes before posting them through... strange !!) anyway, this wasnt a case of having trouble paying, it was a case of just not wanting to pay... her income credited from benefits over the six or so weeks that I inadvertantly saw from the bank was over £2500.... and you could follow her expenditure quite easily, little bits on debit card and then big amounts of cash on Fridays and Saturdays!!! She also left utility bill debts in excess of £1200 !! So from all of this I could calculate that taking her approx £400 per week benefits, she was spending around £85 on groceries (online), £40 on cigerettes, £0 on Gas, £0 on Electricity, £0 on Rent and £275 on herself!!! not that this helps me in my TPDO but hopefully puts into perspective her unwillingness to pay.
        So, you have her bank details, how much was the average balance? A TPDO only freezes funds in the account on a certain day.

        Ok, so I must act within the six years, or she gets away with it scot free.
        Well, as she hasn't paid within the 14 days, she now has a CCJ against her name for 6 years. Bang goes mobile phone contracts, decent credit, potentially decent rental property etc etc.

        just one more thing, how many times can you instruct a bailiff for the same debt?
        As often as you like - but bear in mind, each enforcement method involves a fee. It gets added to the amount T owes, but if you're not going to get anything off T, that is rather meaningless.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by barry.sullivan@schroders. View Post
          In brief:
          I have been awarded a CCJ against and ex-tenant who left owing rent arrears and some substantial and expensive damage to the property, CCJ awarded for monthly instalments but nothing paid.

          In detail: (apologies for the length but it helps paint the picture)
          My ex-tenant originally moved in with her partner, at the time I was led to believe they were both working
          Was the partner a joint tenant?

          My questions that I am looking for answer to therefore are;

          1. Should I consider an ‘Order to obtain Information’? or a ‘Third party debt Order’? as a possible next step.
          They are two completely different things. The latter is an enforcement method, the former isn't.

          An Order to obtain information may be worth it. Whilst the debtor may well lie under oath, they might reveal something useful such as bank account details (and you can ask for specific questions to be asked, documents provided). Also, don't underestimate the general hassle factor; if someone's lifestyle is based on a carefree absence of responsibility, it may come as a wake up call, to be forced to show up and account for herself. If she doesn't turn up, the consequences are, (at least potentially), quite serious (e.g. prison).

          Serving a warrant of execution by bailiff would be pointless as I assume with such a young child she will still be claiming all her benefits and not actually working, there is no car at her new address, and from memory, if her assets were seized for sale at auction, I doubt they would cover her hair being bleached again, let alone the bailiff fees.
          Bailiffs are pointless unless there's a car (which isn't on hire purchase).

          2. If I do nothing to enforce now and then try again in say three years, would the courts look upon this as not attempting to resolve, and possibly rule against me?
          No.

          3. If none of my efforts produce any repayment, and the six years that the CCJ is registered for is up, can I claim again for the original debt on the first CCJ plus the six years interest as a new claim?
          I don't know how it works exactly, but I think it's possible somehow to 'revive' the CCJ by applying to the court (but I doubt you could reclaim).

          I accept that the chances of recovering this debt at the moment are virtually zero, but would hope that I can wait this out in the hope that this person will eventually grow up, appreciate the value of money, maybe get married and buy a house for her loving family life…. At which point I can apply for the charging order to be levied against it
          I think this is a good strategy, and one I would pursue. Another option (down the line) is to serve a statutory demand - this basically threatens the debtor with bankruptcy (because you could petition for it if the demand went unpaid). If the ex-T is in a position where bankruptcy would be very inconvenient, this'd be likely to motivate her to pay up.

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for your answers, just to clarify points raised;

            Would agree that she will probably lie her way through any questions and then offer 50p per weeek

            Average balance was never much, some days there would be over £600 for say 4 - 5 days, then it was drawn out as cash, usually a day or two before the next benefit payment went in. Hitting those days with a TPDO would be a shot in the dark, and like Snorkerz rightly says, a single mother, young child, she would have no problem unfreezing.

            Think it is the reason of the CCJ disrupting her life a little that spurred me on to follow it through.

            Partner was joint tenant on original 3 x 6 month AST's but when it went to periodic he was not around.

            Must admit, the thought of attending with the clerk to watch her face to face answering questions is appealing, and may be like you say, worth it to hassle her life a bit... doubt I would gain much more than satisfaction for an hour and wonder if that is worth £50.... ????

            I would agree that biding my time may be the only real option, who knows she might just win the lottery !!!


            Once agian, thanks for your help and advice, it has confirmed what I thought, I won't let this take over my life.... move on, but keep it on the back burner.

            I so want to name and shame..... perhaps I am a little bit bitter !!!!

            Thanks all

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by barry.sullivan@schroders. View Post
              Partner was joint tenant on original 3 x 6 month AST's but when it went to periodic he was not around.
              Unless he either gave formal notice or a new tenancy agreement was issued in her name, he will still be jointly and severally responsible. A tracing agent like findermonkey will track him down for a small fee - is he likely to have assets to pay the amount due?

              Comment


                #8
                OP should have claimed against both the joint tenants.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by westminster View Post
                  OP should have claimed against both the joint tenants.
                  Agreed, but that doesn't stop him now claiming against the partner in a separate claim does it?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Do you know, I'm not sure what has been done in terms of a new agreement... will have to ask LA exactly what was issued during his period of being around and dumping her.... but if no renewal of 6 month AST was given and it reverted to periodic, could he not just claim that he did not renew at the end of the last AST and wasnt aware she was staying and is therefore not require to give any notice?

                    Incidentally, the LA has gone through a change of ownership during all of this, and it was quite difficult getting info from the old one when doing the MCOL claim last year.


                    Not sure what his current assets would be like either!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by barry.sullivan@schroders. View Post
                      but if no renewal of 6 month AST was given and it reverted to periodic, could he not just claim that he did not renew at the end of the last AST and wasnt aware she was staying and is therefore not require to give any notice?
                      The joint tenancy could only end by: 1) both joint tenants vacating at fixed term expiry, 2) one or both of the Ts serving written, valid notice to quit after the tenancy became periodic, 3) LL and both Ts agreeing a surrender, or 4) LL obtaining/enforcing a possession order.

                      It wouldn't end just because one T moved out, or 'wasn't aware' the other T remained in occupation, etc.

                      And, if the joint tenancy hadn't ended, the agent could not grant a tenancy in the sole name of the female tenant (which would be a brand new tenancy), because you cannot have more than one tenancy in place.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        he could claim ignorance, but it won't do much good.

                        A joint AST - "Mr A & Ms B" becomes a statutory periodic tenancy by law at the end of the fixed term. Unless he gave notice, Mr A still had a right to live there and still had joint liability with Ms B.

                        Mr A can not claim the end of the tenancy because he did not return the property to the landlord with vacant possession and he is liable for Ms Bs actions whether he knew about them or not.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Sorry, let me see if I understand this fully;

                          Despite claiming the full amount of arrears, damage and costs from one of the tenants, I can now claim seperately from the other tenant even if he wasnt living there?

                          What do I claim? is it 50% of the rent arrears? 100% of arrears?

                          If he coughs up, is her liability to the debt registered on the CCJ then reduced by that amount?

                          This is very interesting, and equally confusing !

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If I am correct, and Westminster will be able to give more clarity, you sue the other person for the full amount. However once you have got the full amount from either or both you can't collect any more. So, 2 CCJs for £1000, you recover £600 from Mr A and Ms B has £600, you can only have £400 off her.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                              If I am correct, and Westminster will be able to give more clarity, you sue the other person for the full amount. However once you have got the full amount from either or both you can't collect any more. So, 2 CCJs for £1000, you recover £600 from Mr A and Ms B has £600, you can only have £400 off her.
                              Yes, I'd claim the full amount from the male tenant, but I don't know how the enforcement side would work as OP obviously couldn't enforce both CCJs to the maximum and get double the money. I'd ask the judge at the hearing.

                              Comment

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