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I have a tenant who used to be a letting manager, she is now 3 months behind on rent. Her explanation is that she had an accident and is now living with her mother. I believe this to be true to some extent but it does not change that fact that I am 3 months rent out of pocket. She has given 4 weeks notice (even though the contract was for 12 months). I have her deposit but finding it hard to just leave things as is.
She keeps promising that she will pay the outstanding rent but wants to do this just before she moves out so unlikely it will ever happen, I do have this in emails from her.
I believe that she is going to move out in 4 weeks but want to know whether there is anything that I can do to claim back the outstanding rent? Can I take her to court. I will be issuing a S21 to get her evicted just in case she does decide to stay.
Losing this rent essentially means I make a loss on the property since I have bought it. In addition I now need to pay the agent another months rent to find someone else, if she does actually end up leaving when she said.
What assets does she have?
You can take her to court but ultimately after that expense and effort you have to consider how likely collection of the debt is
I am going to visit the property in Manchester this weekend to check the condition of the property - I believe all her belongings are still there with furniture etc.
Her mother is also the guarantor. She is currently living with her mother so I would essentially be taking both of them to court making it more likely to get the money back.
Guarantor puts you in a much better situation.
Also for furniture etc would suggest thats a separate issue and not one to confuse matters with. Certainly dont take control of goods without appropriate court order.
I have just informed the guarantor that I will be moving ahead with the legal process. Between them, they have the money to pay the rent.
Gerhard.... sorry to hear your predicament. I've had this situation myself a few times. What I've learned is actions speak louder than words. There are some things you should do immediately to take control of the situation and let the tenant and Guarantor know you are serious.
1) Write a letter to both the tenant and Guarantor individually setting out the outstanding debt with a current statement attached. Give them 7 days to pay after which without further reference to them they will be issued with a County Court Summons. Send the letter with Proof of Posting from the post office ... it's free and you may need it in court later if it goes that far. The mere threat of a CCJ make most tenants know you're serious. A CCJ will destroy their credit ratings for several years ahead.... powerful indeed.
2) Also include in your letter the proper notice period required under your AST and any legitimate costs of ending it early. Going to the property is a good idea to see the condition. take photos's. make sure you give her 24 hours written notice of entry first though.
3) Begin remarketing the property immediately, it's clear you need a new tenant. Strongly consider OpenRent to re-let. For £49 they are brilliant and are blowing letting agents out of the water. I have over 20 properties with them and in my opinion they're the best thing to happen to Landlords for ages. Everything is online and all you need to do is select your potential tenants and do the viewings. I would stack them on a Saturday morning if you have to travel to do the viewings.
4) If the Guarantor and tenant don't respond to your letter before action in 1). Go to Money Claim On Line, the government online claim service, and issue a summons to both of them but individually. This will cost a moderate amount dependant on what you're owed, but the legal wheels are now in motion and you will end up with an enforcible judgement against both. You can move it up to the High Court for a further fee.
Hope this helps
Thank you Nycom63. The tenant set out a repayment schedule, promising to make first payment yesterday but nothing came through so going to be going legal route now, starting with a CCJ. It is a he first time I am going through this (and prob not the last) so really appreciate the advice.
Things are never straight forward. Depending on how your tenancy agreement is worded will depend on how much of the debt the guarantor is liable for.For example if your tenancy agreement states that the landlord should minimize their losses for the guarantor then this is expected to mean you will commence eviction proceedings as soon as possible rather than let the tenancy agreement continue whilst expecting the guarantor to pay the rent.Waiting three months and allowing the rent arrears to mount up any good lawyer could argue that is is the case. Everyone's case is different so don't just rely upon others results. get proper advice and proceed accordingly.
Maybe also issue S8 as threat of CCJ may motivate her.
Thanks, I will look into that.
Have just been through eviction process and successfully claimed under guarantee deed.