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  • Buy-to-Let

    Debts issue of old tenant

    I had an enforcement officer come to one of my room rentals today looking for an existing tenant.  He had a letter to remove items from this guys room but I refused to let him in and said I would ask the tenant to contact him.  Does anyone know where I stand as I do not want them breaking down door and going into rooms that other people live in.  He was quite pleasant but just wondered what the legalities are

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    Personal experience (twice - after moving and getting lots of debt letters and bailiffs trying to trace the previous tennants) :

    Ask anyone who turns up to show you the papers from the court - they should show the debtors name. I found all visitors were reasonable once I showed my ID and explained the debtor no longer lived at the property.

    Send a letter to the courts if there are several unrelated court orders. In my case I received court notices 3 weeks in a row, each with a different debtors name (previous owners had debts using their middle names, her maiden name, etc). The court sent me a letter confirming any future court orders would be refused - regardless of the debtors name. I kept a copy of the letter by the front door to show debt collectors.

    returning letters after clearly marking them "gone away - return to sender" does not stop debt chasers or incompetent utility companies.

    opening letters is illegal, some deliver unsealed letters by hand, some have an obvious return address.

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    Thank you for replying but the guy still lives in a room, he has said he will sort out so fingers crossed. Just wondered what powers they have to enter properties

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    It depends what kind of letter / warrant they have

    Usually they cant force entry though but in certain cases they can

    If you leave a window/ door open though they can enter through peaceable means

    So best to refuse entry as you did and sort it out with them outside

    Dont even give them a chance to put a foot in the door

    Some are polite and respect their powers

    Others are incredible obnoxious and just lie




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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    I collected all my ex-tenants' letters and wrote "Return to sender" and included the date they moved out under that. I contacted the various agencies they owed money to to tell them I had new tenants and they were not to be harassed. I also tracked down my ex-tenants and gave their work addresses to said agencies. That ought to stop them from coming after you and your new tenants.

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    If i were to collect up and return all the debt collection mail for my previous tenants it would be pretty much a days work each week. It just gets gathered up and binned. Its very rare that a debt collector actually turns up these days, occasionally i’ll find a “sorry we missed you card” saying that they’ll return. Must be over 5 years since i was last asked by a tenant to confirm their tenancy to a collector looking for a previous tenant.

    i’d be very curious to know how much debt is associated with my buildings over the years i’ve rented them. Rather suspect it would be a considerable sum

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    My son bought a house in Redditch from a woman who's live in boyfriend had serious debts and unpaid fines. My son and his girlfriend have had both police and high court enforcement banging (and I do mean banging) on their front door at 6am more than once. The police said its lucky you opened the door when you did, we were going to put it in.

    Very aggressive and threatening to be on the receiving end of that at 6am with torches being shone directly in your eyes to blind you. So much so that they now keep a folder with their house purchase papers in the hall and their passports and cars paperwork to hand.

    Don't underestimate how oficious these people can get, it depends on the seriousness of the debts. They are not at all like the bailiffs you see on TV.

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    The last thing I want is for new tenants to be confronted by this sort of thing. I'd deal with it myself.


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    Yes, it can be so unpleasant. You've just moved in and find people at your door demanding money and threatening to remove your possessions. I think good landlords always try to deal with such things themselves to spare the new tenants the nightmare.

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