Chasing rent arrears

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    Chasing rent arrears


    I know there are a number of posts that touch on this subject but I would be very grateful if someone could give me, in layman's terms, the best route to take when a tenant has disappeared leaving a debt on their rent account? We can assume for this we have no forwarding address.

    I need to balance to costs against the money to be collected.

    I have heard of so many different ways that I admit I am now rather confused.



    Firstly, it depends what your main aim is. If it is to collect money, then it is rarely cost effective if I assume(YMCA) you are chasing young people that primarily on housing benefit.

    You can use a tracing agent to find them(it usually pays to wait 2 or 3 months) once they have set roots down at their new address. You can then send them a Letter Before Action, and then file a claim directly at the County Court, or via MCOL(cheaper).
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong


      Without wanting to add to your difficulties, you also need to either verify or plan to achieve the legal end of the Tenancy - just because they have scarpered does not mean it has ended so be very careful about entering the property and doing anything with it or any belongings left behind.

      is this an AST?
      start date and initial term?
      rent period (e.g. per calendar month)?
      deposit taken?
      deposit protected and PI served correctly? (this would mean you have at least one other address for them)
      details if arrears (how long, what history of under or missed payment)?
      circumstances of departure - eg did they just disappear or did they serve notice / surrender the tenancy / leave the keys?
      was an application form filled in and checked (giving you their passport number / driving licence / NI number)?


        MCOL fees are here (it depends on how much is owed) and can be added to the debt ;

        In your situation, I would take a long term view of it.
        IIRC you can chase them for 6 years, I assume a large amount of your ex tenants will have turned their lives around in that time.
        I would periodically research them and cherry-pick the successful easy targets- own house, secure job etc.
        Your success rate should then prove cost effective.
        Rather distasteful but presumably their non payment is depriving others in need.


          IMHO Always pursue the thieving scr%+TS for as long as it takes & for however much it takes.

          Otherwise they'll tell all their dodgy mates what a soft touch YMCA are & how you'll never take action for debt. & they'll be your next tenants

          I'm not religious but YMCA do great work & deserve support & help, not to be ripped off by a crook.

          Best regards
          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...


            Thanks guys.

            To answer some of your questions:-

            Refurb to Rent -

            Some are on protected licence, some on AST.
            In most, if not all cases, the tenancy has been bought to a close. We give them 28 days following an abandonment or tenancy end date to clear their belongings.
            No deposits taken.
            All on HB
            We don't keep details of ID as a rule. We might see it and occasionally take a photo copy but not as a rule.
            The arrears are mainly rent not having been paid either due to the ending of a HB claim and them not assisting us to resolve the issue
            or rent due as they have done some work and were liable to pay a share of the rent not covered by HB.
            Some debt is damage not paid for.

            The Saint

            Our aim is to claim back the money.


            We have a significant amount of money outstanding in total. Some people owe a few hundred some thousands.
            Pursuing the lower amounts may not be worthwhile but the larger amounts are probably worth spending some money to get it back.
            This is what I'm trying to get my head around. If there was one route/company who we could deal with it would be ideal but I have no idea if that is even viable.



              I don't know of anyone that offers a service to "buy" these type of debts at a discount. That says a lot!

              Tracing new addresses is made easier if you have passport number, driver number, NI number and, in the case of deposits, by use of the "alternate address" they have to provide. You might want to add to the application form etc process to make this easier in future?

              There are no success/no fee tracing services and also low fixed price tracing services to find where they are now. Those providers merely find you an address to base a claim on, they don't offer services to recover.

              Then the issue is whether they have anything that could be taken or deducted from in order to make them pay even if there is a CCJ? This is the real crux of your question.

              I guess if some of the high owing tenants are found to now have houses/jobs/cars then those might be worth taking through the courts.

              There are landlords who work to have CCJs recorded so that the actions of the tenant at least have some consequences and others who just see it as the cost of doing business. I believe anything that will make it less likely for the next place they land to also be ripped off is a good thing. A life lesson.


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