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  • Buy-to-Let

    Can I sue tenant for cost of bailiff?

    Just wondering, If I had a tenant who didn't pay rent whom I then served the section 21. Obviously after been evicted I could sue the tenant for the lost rent. However I was wondering if I had to use baliffs to get the tenant out.

    1) Could I sue the tenant for the cost of the baliffs after?

    2) Could I sue the tenant for all the court fees related to getting possession?

    Or can I only sue for the lost rent, also if it takes another 4 months say to get them out after the section 21 has expired could I sue them for those 4 months of rent also?

    I'm in sueing mood

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    You may well be in suing mood.

    It won't get you anywhere though.

    The chances of you being able to recover losses are pretty remote.

    Forget throwing good money after bad.

    Unless you know the tenant has a good job to which you can have an attachment of earnings order or you know the tenant has significant assets then it is a waste of time and money.

    Next time use RGI and or a guarantor at £7.90 pm and save all this hassle if rent defaulting occurs again.

    Yes it means you will have to be very selective over who you take on as a tenant.

    Without RGI you face the same risks again.

    Can you or do you wish to afford another eviction.

    If you can't source RGI qualifiable tenants then you have to question your business viability for this particular property.

    If the tenants are on welfare then forget it.

    Very rarely does civil recovery work.

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    He does have a good job, what I was asking was not should I sue for these costs, but can I. As in, do I have a right to claim these costs

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    If you evict the tenant using a Sec21 then you can claim back the court fees (inc bailiff) but you'll need to do a separate money claim (https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome) for anything else they owe you after they've gone. I've done this several times and sued ex-tenants for damage to property, rent arrears, other costs and interest on all of it. I can honestly say it's not been worth it in my experience, as these sort of wxxxxxs usually know how to play the system and give collection bailiffs (or sheriffs) the runaround. I hardly ever got a penny back, it's a bitter pill to swallow. I hate the fact they can so easily just get away with it, even though in every case the judge awarded me all debts I asked for. 

    If you use a Section 8 to evict the tenant then you can claim costs and rent arrears at the same time with the eviction process. But be aware the judge can decide against you for numerous reasons, it's not cut and dried you'll get them out even if they're still over 2 months in arrears at the time of the hearing.

    If this is the first time you're evicting someone then I'd recommend some professional help and join a landlord association, or get an expert in the field. One little mistake can prove very costly in time, effort and money.

    As you've stated the tenant has a good job so thats one thing, eventually collecting your money from them is another though. Attachment of earnings may work but these can easily be cancelled if the tenant gets a new job or even changes department, you then have to start a process again. Either way be prepared for what could be a very long and drawn out, frustrating experience. As long as you learn from it then I'd definitely follow it all the way through. If the tenant was a complete and utter bxxxxxd I'd make a point to follow the process right to the end and give them some sleepless nights, it was the only comfort I got from chasing them!

    Sorry if this sounds so negative, hope you have better luck than I did at collecting debts from former tenants. As Paul said RGI can go some way to mitigating losses, as long as the insurer does actually pay out. I've had some Landlords buildings insurance pay out for void periods and property damage before too, might be worth checking your cover.

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    Yes you do have the right

    It sounds like you might stand a good chance of  recovery

    Good luck

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