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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Landlord's right to recover rent arrears

One question I get asked quite a lot is "can I still claim my rent arrears from the tenant after I have got possession of the property" - the simple answer to this is yes?

The first step is you need to know where your ex-tenant lives. If you don't have a new address but you know where they work you may get permission from a Court to serve Court papers at a work address.

Once you have an address for service you can issue a claim in the Small Claims Court and obtain a County Court Judgment for the arrears. If your ex-tenant is unwilling to pay the Judgment you can then enforce it by either getting a County Court Bailiff to seize personal items and sell them or obtain an Attachment of Earnings Order through the Court.

There are time limits - you have 6 years from the date the debt arose to issue Court proceedings - this is not the date they left the property but the date that rent was due. After obtaining your County Court Judgment you then have 6 years to enforce it.

If you would like any further advice on this or any other landlord legal advice please either email me at or telephone on 01623 448331.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The advice is correct, but the crucial detail is left out. It's the same on landlord forums. I wonder if solicitors give this detail only to paying clients.
Anyway,here it goes. If you received permission to serve at work address (costs £45) and defendant ignores your letter, the case will be thrown out of the court because judgement can't be made against work address, work hasn't done anything wrong. You've got to have ex-tenant's current residential address, no way around it. You can serve documents at his last known address (your property), but defendant can claim that he knew nothing about it (which is true), and you won't be able to enforce the judgement. So, unless tracing company traces him/her, there's no hope, even if we know tenant's work address. I am in the same situation and paid to a Housing Law solicitor to get this information.

Unless CCJ is issued against name and National Insurance Number, rather than address, the landlords have very little hope to get their money back.