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My tenant has left, she owed 3 months rent and has left quite a bit of damage, totalling about £2.5k combined. We have started a small claims application but not submitted whilst we get the final receipts for the repairs.
If the court finds in our favour, we think that she will say she has no income other than benefits, no assets as we think she is now living with her boyfriend, so should we proceed?
If we are successful and she is unable to pay, what other options do we have? She has already offered to pay £100 per month but obviously we haven’t received a penny and she is no longer responding to any communication.
Are there any other options, is it worth selling the debt to a collector?
I’d work on the basis that you’re going to get nothing, the only real leverage you have is getting the ccj onto the tenants credit file and so make life harder for them for a few years, but if they have a poor credit history they won’t care. The small claims court process only really works if the other party abides by the decisions if they don’t things drag on interminably.
Treat the debt as a life lesson, don’t tie yourself in knots about it, invest your time effort and money in something that will generate income, chase the debt but bear in mind how much it costs both in £,time and effort. Until you’ve got the ccj i can’t see a debt collector buying it and even then the return will be minimal.
sorry to sound so negative, but i went through the whole process ( on a non rent matter) took me over 2 years, eventually got my money but only because the debtor had a divorce settlement and the courts ordered my debt deducted before the debtor received their money. I was very lucky, and if you totted up the hours i put into it it was barely more than minimum wage.
HI Beeston, I am sorry for your situation but this is all too common. From my experience you are very unlikely to get anything from her without a court order. Assuming you win the case, if she is on benefits you are likely to get the money back at around £5 per week - if she has no other outstanding court orders which take precedence.
The costs, time and emotional effort of a court case may or may not be worth the satisfaction of getting a CCJ and some limited cash back over a considerable time. That is your call.
Many of our LL take the hit, walk away and vow not to take benefits claimants again without a homeowner or working guarantor to back them up. And you wonder why some LL say "NO DSS" on their ads - although this may soon be illegal (and Zoopla have today confirmed they will ban such ads on their portal).
Hamilton Square Estates Ltd
Wirral Property Group Ltd
Sourcing and renovating investment property since 1994
Yep,asking for guarantor is my prime method of filtering out those reliant on benefits, one rather stroppy individual demanded to know why it was necessary as he could afford it no problem,
” excellent, then i’m sure you’ll have no problem finding someone that’s willing to to guarantee that. But if you can’t find someone that will ,why should i believe you can”
he stomped off muttering , never to be seen again.
I think landlords do have a moral obligation, to each other, to pursue these people. It should, with proper referencing, stop stop serial bad tenants costing other landlords in this way.
You are absolutely right, but there are hundreds of small landords all over the place who are getting rumped out of thousands and they just don't have the time or that extra bit of money to go to Court.
With respect, all landlords firstly have a moral obligation to provide good decent property , maintained and kept in a professional manner.
There will always be those that don’t that, prey on lifes less fortunate and take any tenant that crosses their path in order to avoid a days void. In 23 years i’ve lost around £1500 in rent and aside from flea infestations not had a flat left in poor condition other than needing industrial scale cleaning.
The flipside is that i’ll leave a flat empty for 3 months or more if that’s what it takes to get a a tenant i want. So I incur my losses by another route.
I’ve served notices but never had to go to court, i try to make sure tenants don’t get into arrears, in the past thats meant driving them to the council offices and making sure the right paperwork has been submitted.
There are some awful people in this world, but when it comes to tenants most that get themselves in a tizz have done so because of the lives they lead rather than being malicious/vindictive, keep a an eye on your property and tenants behaviour and a majority of problems are nipped in the bud. Its where to my mind the model of investing a long distance from your base so often goes wrong, doing it with no local agent is just asking for problems , finding a good agent that’ll look after your property as you would is not easy and can’t be done on the cheap.
I’ve no doubt that sooner or later i’ll have a nightmare tenant who for whatever reason incurs great expense for me, luckily the ofds to dat have been on my side, but it’s not all down to luck.
Sorry you are going through all this .. I have just gone through 8 months eviction process, no rent payments and £3850 in damages .
Sadly I agree with Phil , expect nothing she will probably have nothing to cease or money to pay the debt ... even if you win it's no guarantee you will get a penny .
The plus side you might get a county court judgement against her which will make it extremely difficult for her to do it again ... but it's you paying to protect someone else ... if you get some feeling of resolve then great .
It's totally unfair and will always sway in favour of the tenant .... I made a claim on his deposit of £750 .... he had the cheek to contest that ... that took 3.5 months to get a desision from the DPS... I was awarded £450 in costs to offset damages of £3850.00 which is a utter joke ... but still money I deprived him of ... so a little satisfaction .
Hope you find resolution soon
Thank you for your comments, I’m happy to get £5 per week or a CCJ if that causes her issues and prevents her doing it again.
She had a guarantor but upad now can’t find any of the documents which show they will cover the arrears, which has left me fuming. She paid the rent on time in full for 15 months, right up until the day I told her we needed to sell because my Wife was being made redundant, then it all went wrong.
I don’t want to write it off, we can’t afford to lose £2.5k and morally I find it repugnant.
Morally wrong most certainly , but that won’t get your money, how many £5 will you lay out going through the small claims process, in terms of fees , time and expenses?
Much as it hurts, you have lost the money and need to budget on that basis, then if you get some back its a bonus.
No offence , but why would you rely on Upad to keep your paperwork safe? Surely you have copies. Paperwork is king, 75% of my losses over the years were due to not being on top of the paperwork and trusting others, these days my tenants think i own a papermill.