I know where the tenant has gone, can I use the info?

by Readers Question

10:31 AM, 8th February 2018
About 2 years ago

I know where the tenant has gone, can I use the info?

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I know where the tenant has gone, can I use the info?

Monday this week we had a tenant abscond owing rent. Much more than the deposit. (yes, they past references etc.)

The (now) ex-tenant point blank refused to give forwarding details. As is their right.

It turns out the move was very local. There was no stalking, no hanging around street corners dressed as a detective from a black and white movie, no social media searches, I simply went shopping last night for supplies to drown my sorrows over what I assumed was an unrecoverable loss (McGuigan Estate Chardonnay £5/bottle @ Sainsbury) and the information just plopped into my lap.

I want what is owed. What is my legal position?

Can I use this information for filing a claim, the court papers going to the new address?

If it turns out there are utility/council tax/other debts, can I give the information to these providers?

I don’t want to find that I am the bad guy, because I used the knowledge to make someone responsible for their own baggage.

Thanks

Hamish



Comments

DALE ROBERTS

14:06 PM, 20th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by rebecca brisley at 09/02/2018 - 20:17
Can you recommend a debt collecting agency?
I'm presently owed in excess of GBP20 000.00 by a serial defaulting tenant. She managed to stall her eviction court date by several months claiming (all spurious and unsubstantiated) inter alia: illness, unprotected deposit, harassment, maintenance issues etc to delay court proceedings. Court finally lost patience with her. I was awarded an eviction set date and judgement against her but this does npt alter the 8 long months of trying to get rid of her while she has withheld rental since receipt of her Section 21 and Section 8.
She also has not paid her heating bills since 2015. They total almost GBP3 000.00 and as the company providing same is a private company and not national the account will be for my cost. Obviously the tenant knows this as she was evicted from the apartment next door to mine before taking occupation of my property under gross misrepresentation of her rental history.
I have written to the local Council clarifying that the tenant has orchestrated her eviction in order to gain access to social housing as she will never be able to rent from the private sector again. They appear to be completely disinterested in her fraud.
Although the tenant has amassed a small fortune at my expense she doesn't appear to have much personal assets. No doubt she is well versed in ensuring her wealth is hidden.

Charles Fonteijn

14:28 PM, 20th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by DALE ROBERTS at 20/03/2018 - 14:06
First of all you can request after 8 weeks arrears that the council pays housing benefit direct to you if applicable. This might be too late for this time. Secondly you are not responsible for the tenants bills. Regarding debt collection. If she is working you could try an attachment of earnings. you might need to contact a tracing agency to obtain her new address and details of employment. I have used Pitmans for debt collection

DALE ROBERTS

14:54 PM, 20th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Still waiting for Council to respond to that request months after initiating it!
In this case I am responsible for the heating bill. It is run by the developer under a private arrangement and the arrears are assigned to the property - not the tenant. So the heating company is quite happy to ignore the arrears from a difficult tenant. I, as the owner, am the financial hostage.
She doesn't work. She's a professional scrounger and if she did she wouldn't tell DWP - she relies on her "single mother status" to fleece DWP and houses adult members of her extended family in my property in violation of the lease.
She is adept at manipulating the system. And it appears the DWP are quite happy to accept this.
I have been met with apathy and disinterest no matter how blatantly the tenant behaves in exposing her sense of entitlement. It's been a harsh lesson to learn and I won't repeat the mistake.
My property will be sold as soon as I have rectified the damages.
But it does gall me that I have been forced to finance a cheat to the extent that I have. And she will continue to fleece the system because there is no active accountability from the very organisations who are supposed to assist the rightfully needy.

Charles Fonteijn

15:11 PM, 20th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by DALE ROBERTS at 20/03/2018 - 14:54
you might be entitled to compensation from the council. have got proof that you made the request? you could contact the local government ombudsman after your complaint is not resolved with the council.

Hamish McBloggs

19:59 PM, 4th August 2018
About A year ago

Well, I promised to report back.

This shouldn't be celebrated. The whole system stinks.

I didn't bother with a tracing agent in the end and took 'a flyer' regarding the address. Could have been an expensive mistake but 1 day before the expiration time for a response, the claim was defended. I had therefore got the address right.

The defence was not coherent or truthful (my view) and included accusations which I read as positioning for a counterclaim to attempt to set aside some of the debt.

I declined the opportunity for mediation as I had previously, (before initiating the legal process), been told various things in no uncertain terms (emails in block caps). I had also asked directly on several occasions the tenant propose a trusted friend of theirs as a go-between. Offers declined with either silence or more capitals. So mediation would have been pointless even after time to think since departure. I was not contacted to say that mediation was being sought.

I paid the hearing fee and created a detailed witness statement to support my claim. I responded to every point in the defence statement with evidence. I always keep very detailed records. I provided every single email, facebook post, text and sought records from the mobile service provider, rent statements, agreements, letters, receipt .... nothing could be taken out of context.

I submitted the documents to both court and ex-tenant with at least 14 days to the hearing.

I heard nothing further from the ex-tenant.

I called the court the day before to confirm all is going ahead. In the past, evidence from the other side has only been sent to the court and not me. I have turned up to court to find letters have been sent to the court to state that there would be a no-show as there was absolutely no possibility of a defence against the evidence. More spectacularly, a landlord friend had letters sent 'from the landlord's solicitor' once changing the date for something more urgent and later another terminating the claim.

At the hearing I was on my own. A no-show and no further evidence to support the defence.

I didn't want 'my day in court'. I wanted the Judge to chair an exchange of evidence and challenge both parties then come to the right decision. I wanted errors to be corrected and instruction to be given ... to both of us if necessary.

So where are we now?

An ex tenant who can appeal or counterclaim. I won't settle.

if there is nothing further then it's a CCJ and a more difficult future.

With a CCJ I could make further attempts at recovering some money; perhaps by an attachment of earnings. If they attempt to disappear again I could trace them and attempt to bankrupt them; something which may be intolerable to an employer and therefore leverage.

I can add the cost of any further tracing etc. I can charge interest.

Is this the result I wanted?

Pragmatically, I lay significant blame at my own feet. I was too trusting. My investigations uncovered a debt laden wake. It is not for me to judge the whys or wherefores of this information which is not directly relevant to my specific case in anyway other than it set the initial conditions for this tenancy. Initial conditions that were kept from me. It would seem previously others opted for the cheaper (personally and financially) shrug of shoulders and move on method of dealing with the loss as there were no recorded judgements at previous addresses. A clean record.

However, when I combine my newer knowledge with the increasingly appalling attitude of the person toward me and their treatment of me I bristle. I was effectively given a defiant middle finger and told to suck it up. Apparently I can afford it.

Therefore I hope that my taking an (expensive) stand where others could have before me I will provide a searchable record of debt and begin to bring to a halt to any methodology whether intentional or accidental. Whatever is going on must be stopped.

Sadly there are consequences for future tenants too; 99% of whom are probably really nice people. All phone conversations are now recorded. I am contemplating a body camera like those used by Councils to defend against false accusations. There is zero latitude when looking at the referencing results. Deposits in full, no incremental schemes. If there is a single hint of any objection to any requirement then all bets are off. They will write to me before making any changes. If there is a hint of self entitlement then all bets are off. If I don't feel I can get on with the person then its no go.

All humanity is removed and I will always begin from a position of zero trust from now on.

There are no winners.

Hamish

Hamish McBloggs

20:08 PM, 4th August 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Hamish McBloggs at 04/08/2018 - 19:59
Oh yes, and er.

McGuigan Estate Chardonnay is still £5/bottle @ Sainsbury.

Obviously they got a job lot

I'm not on commission it's an ok wine and just nice chilled on these balmy evenings.

Hic

Luke P

20:23 PM, 4th August 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Hamish McBloggs at 04/08/2018 - 19:59
Sadly, it’s a journey every landlord will embark on sooner or later, learning the very same lessons.

Trish

21:45 PM, 4th August 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Hamish McBloggs at 04/08/2018 - 19:59
Oh blimey, what an awful to-do. Hope it works out OK for you in the end, but dreadful that you've had to go through all this

Neil Patterson

10:43 AM, 25th February 2019
About 8 months ago

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