How to recover arrears from a serial debtor?

How to recover arrears from a serial debtor?

9:59 AM, 27th April 2018, About 6 years ago 19

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Between our S21 notice and regaining possession, the tenants stopped paying rent. They passed referencing in 2014, but now had 2 CCJs and admitted no agent would touch them unless they paid several months’ rent up front. They moved to a new house at similar rent and it’s fairly obvious the rent they owe funded their new deposit.

They clearly know how to play the system and leave a trail of debts behind. They have money coming in from somewhere – apart from the big new house, they still find enough to send one child out of catchment and the other to private school.

The deposit covered most of the cost to reinstate the property, so I now want to do something about the arrears.

Is there a way to put a legal charge on their new deposit (as second charge after their new landlord)?

If we get another CCJ their total debts will be about £13K plus whatever they rack up elsewhere. At what point will they be able to declare bankruptcy and walk away, and can we do anything?

Many thanks


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Neil Patterson

10:03 AM, 27th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Hi Simon,

This may help to put some of the Jigsaw together:
FREE Guide To Enforcing Judgments

Also see our FREE guide to evictions and recovering rent arrears >>

Richard Adams

12:03 PM, 27th April 2018, About 6 years ago


You say these tenants know how to work the system and that they clearly have financial means. You further say "if we get another CCJ" etc. No if about it you must get a CCJ for what you are owed. Don't worry about other outstanding CCJ's - not your problem if someone else has got them and not followed up.

Having got your CCJ which will doubtless not be a problem as those who play the system like your tenants don't respond to claims or pay when CCJ against them is the outcome, appoint sheriffs to collect. Debt Collection Bailiffs as seen on TV - "Can't Pay We'll Take it Away" - are excellent.

Don't over complicate the issue investigating second charges on their deposit at current rented property etc.

All you want, and deserve, is rent arrears owing. Above method will achieve it.
I have done likewise twice and in both cases it was a breeze.


21:51 PM, 27th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Actually any debt collector will first assess whether the debtor is worth pursuing and that includes the company you have suggested. In my case I have a very similar scenario to Simon's ie a serial rogue tenant who knew exactly how to manipulate the very indulgent system. She has a slew of CCJ's and an eviction history almost breathtaking in it's continued audacity. Thus far all the top debt collection agencies have refused to assist me citing negligible chance of success. I am owed, presently, almost GBP19 000 in arrears, have a CCJ for this amount and this does not include the costs to refurbish my deliberately trashed apartment after a successful eviction which took six months to finality.
Professional tenants operate on a cash only basis to hide bank accounts. Obviously my tenant has secreted her rental arrears somewhere. They also ensure they rent fully furnished apartments to minimize their own assets and thus minimize the possible attachment thereof.
Evictions and CCJ's do not hinder the "professional" tenant. My request to have the CCJ registered when I returned to court for the eviction order has yet to be registered and that was almost two months ago.
I am investigating "no win no fee" debt collectors as I do not reside in the UK and therefore cannot lodge a money claim on line.
The unpalatable truth about rogue tenants is that the system protects them. And they know it.

wanda wang

22:21 PM, 27th April 2018, About 6 years ago

The problem with this system is only talk about rogue landlord not rogue tenants.

Richard Adams

22:59 PM, 27th April 2018, About 6 years ago


Simon's tenants can clearly pay if, I stress if, they are pursued as I suggest. Simon said "They have money coming in from somewhere – apart from the big new house, they still find enough to send one child out of catchment and the other to private school". Anyone with money enough to send a child to a private school can pay.

I just hope he will indeed pursue them.

Mark Connelly

8:52 AM, 28th April 2018, About 6 years ago

The important bit is to get ccj because that legalises the claim.
I have had very poor experience of the sheriffs are coming so I suggest after you have your ccj you take the option of ‘inspecting their finances’. By law they have to show the court everything- if they don’t show up to the court it’s an offence . Once you know where the money is or how their income is coming in you will know what action you need to get your money.
Because it is such a large amount I suspect citizens advise would suggest bankruptcy?

Simon M

12:51 PM, 30th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. Apart from the build up of arrears, we've also had no income during the void period to repair and then re-market the property, so the financial impact on us was greater. Paying out again continues the irritation.
However, I'd not intended that we might not go after them at all - we will obtain a CCJ. However we have plenty of evidence they're immune to the usual debt collection processes, including a high court enforcement agent.
I like the idea to ask them to submit their financial details. The school fees might be paid by a relative, but we would then find out their source of income.

Freda Blogs

13:20 PM, 30th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Please put them on the Landlord Referencing website which legitimately captures details of errant tenants. Sadly that may not help you, but it could help the next unsuspecting landlord who comes along...


14:14 PM, 30th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Unfortunately not all landlords are aware of Landlord Referencing so all efforts to advertise this excellent site is to be lauded. I know for a fact that the tenant I evicted from my unit is still in the building and has obviously evaded detection once again. The post box to my unit has been deliberately vandalised to enable her to collect her mail. She also did not return her entry and parking fobs. The building managing agents advise that they cannot cancel these fobs on my instruction!
Simon, contact Caridon Landlord Solutions and specifically ask to speak with Sherrelle Collman. She is a veritable institution of guidance in these matters and is a Property 118 member as well. She dispenses advice as a matter of courtesy and will also advise you on the possibility of having the tenant's Housing Benefit paid directly to you in lieu of unpaid rental. The tenant must be exposed to Council/Shelter if she is a benefits recipient and both organisations take a very dim view on cheating tenants.
And finally, also investigate debt collectors who take a percentage of what they attach without cost to you.

Richard Adams

14:18 PM, 30th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Simon, I'm glad you will be getting a CCJ. Just how can anyone be "immune" to debt collection. You said the debtors had "money coming in" so there is no reason why some money "coming out" should not go your way.

Don't overlook that enforcement agents are used to this kind of scenario. Come the crunch they will remove goods which may not be worth a lot but when stuff (including vehicles) starts being removed from homes the debtor's mind often crystallizes. Don't forget that before removing goods debtor will be asked if any friends/relatives can help. What about the relative you suspect might be paying school fees?

You might be prepared to accept a small amount initially and so much per month thereafter if agents advise this is best option? Not great but better than nothing for you. If debtor reneges on payments debtor is revisited.

Don't be tempted not to pursue the debtor. You need what you are owed and debtor needs to be taught a lesson that he/she is NOT immune.

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