It is surprising how many landlords give up chasing their tenant when they have left the property. Landlords are often so relived that they have possession of their property back, that they write off many bad debts, and in doing so incur a huge loss.
Landlords think again…..
The courts are there to enforce contracts, and that’s what you should do. Tenants that get away with it will almost always go on to do it again to some poor unsuspecting landlord.
Initially you will need to do a trace to locate the tenant, and tracing agents are very often able to easily obtain addresses. You can obtain the trace yourself or instruct a third party such as a Debt Recovery company to carry out the trace. If you used a good tenancy application form you will have more than enough information, and the trace fee can be added to your claim.
The steps to recovery:
1. Have you obtained an address?
2. If so can the tenant pay? If they are employed then this will be useful in recovery.
3. Do you have supporting documentation? A rental application form, a tenancy agreement, the correct deposit documents, a good rent schedule showing what was received and what is owed will suffice as evidence.
4. The third party can take the matter to court and obtain a County Court Judgment for you, against the tenant.
But is a County Court Judgement (CCJ) worth the paper it’s written on when you still don’t have the money?
Yes it definitely is!
Working and professional people will find it difficult to continue a normal life with a CCJ over them. They will struggle to obtain future tenancies, credit, finance, mortgages, insurance etc. The CCJ will be registered against the tenant for 6 years and within those 6 years if they try to obtain any credit and/or mortgage they will be prevented from doing so.
Further the CCJ enables you to use various enforcement methods such as the County Court Bailiffs, the High Court Sherriffs or do an Attachment of Earnings as a means of trying to recover your money.