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Hi,Has anyone had specific success with collection agencies chasing past tenants who owe you money? Ideally on a no win no fee basis. I am owed over £20k from tenants from over the last 5 years. The amounts owed to me range from over £1000 and the highest being over £5000.These guys look good https://www.nightfoxinvestigations.co.uk/ but I have never used them. Has anyone else? I have used standard debt collection agencies before but they are rubbish and just send a couple of letters then call it a day. Thanks
I've recently started down this path for the first time as well (so please anyone with more experience feel free to correct me) and have found the same - most of what look like 'debt collection' agencies only conduct 'pre-legal' actions such as sending letters for an exorbitant fee then leaving you to it (all the providers listed on the RLA suppliers page fall into this category).
To my understanding (and don't take this as gospel), which now seems obvious, legal action can only be undertaken by solicitors, unless you want to do it yourself via Money Claim Online (unsure how much time and effort this requires).
Check if your 'debt collectors' have in-house solicitors or contact a local solicitor. Jump straight to them sending their version of a Letter Before Action which does have a bearing on the court case (instead of useless letters), then get them to obtain a County Court Judgement. Fees unlikely to be recoverable.
***and by the way, make sure to ask if they will charge for tracing as this is incredibly easy yourself for ~£40 and 10 minutes via findUKpeople.com. One solicitor tried to say they'd arrange the tracing (£40) but would need to add an hour of their time (£120+Vat!!)***
Hi Alex,Thanks for that. The best way for sure seems to be:1. https://www.findukpeople.com/2.. Money Claim Online or, find a debt collection / recovery company willing to work on a commission only basis, if one exists.
Good money after bad springs to mind - along with "men of straw".
You can track people on internet if willing to pay fees - then estimate if they have any goods worth seizing if starting court action.
Property Tribes partner, Landlord Action, offers a specialist debt collection service, ranging from tracing tenants to arranging MCOL. Find out more >>> here.
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Its relatively easy to get a judgement using MCOL the problem lies in enforcing the judgement - I have tried both Court Bailiffs & High Court Bailiffs & found them both to be equally useless. ( Don't believe what you see on the TV ! ) The only moderate success I had was with an AOE where I got about £40 per month for around a year, then the debtor went Self-Employed so payments stopped.
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Shelter say average gross household income in PRS is around £18000 pa.
Take out av £900 pcm rent and £300 pcm bills and not much left even for food - let alone debt repayments.
I'm in the NE so rent for 3 Bed £500-600 Max !
I also have found debt collection agencies to be useless. They send out a couple of letters hoping there will be a response and if there is none they do not follow up with any real action.
If you go down this route be very careful what you sign up to. Their contracts can have terms and conditions a bit like estate agents whereby if you collect the debt on your own you still have to pay the debt collection agency a percentage even if they were useless. So suppose you try a debt collection agency and they are ineffective, so after a while you go to a solicitor and take the debtor to court and win, the collection agency will still expect to be paid (if in their T&C's).