How to recover arrears from a serial debtor?

How to recover arrears from a serial debtor?

9:59 AM, 27th April 2018, About 5 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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Mark Connelly

14:48 PM, 30th April 2018, About 5 years ago

Just remember you have 6 years to lodge the ccj, time as they say is a healer and I have experienced circumstances for people changes. I have been surprised what changes can happen - a remarriage was the surprise I had - thank you new husband ! Good things can come to those that wait!!

Richard Adams

15:38 PM, 30th April 2018, About 5 years ago

Good point Mark. I got a CCJ awhile back and only enforced it with couple of months before 6 year expiry. It caught the debtor with his trousers down as he had either forgotten about by then or thought he'd got away with it. I had to wait but got what was owed. In this scenario though you need to keep track in intervening time where debtor lives. I found my scumbag through Facebook!!

Mark Connelly

15:42 PM, 30th April 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Adams at 30/04/2018 - 15:38
Richard, Facebook is good but I have been happy with findamonkey and it gets their address to serve papers. Glad you achieved a result - in honestly I have missed out on a few rental debts but have since learnt from my mistakes

Richard Adams

16:32 PM, 30th April 2018, About 5 years ago

Mark, thanks for the tip re findamonkey. Obviously debtor's address for serving of papers is needed but also if you wait awhile before enforcing CCJ through high court bailliffs they need a correct address to go to if debtor has moved. The psychology of this is interesting in that some debtors are so cocksure they are immune that they make no effort on Facebook or anywhere to conceal their whereabouts!! To get one's money is great but the pleasure of nailing them gives a warm glow as well.

Kate Mellor

18:29 PM, 2nd May 2018, About 5 years ago

I’m in the process of trying to recover losses from a couple of dodgy tenants myself. I’ve had a CCJ registered against each of them and issued a warrant against them. The Bailiffs have visited and sent me a letter saying that they weren’t able to enforce the warrant as there weren’t goods of any value to enforce against. They are both university educated & fully employed and living a good lifestyle, so make of that what you will. I spoke to the bailiffs office and was told that it was very often a waste of time and money getting the bailiffs in (especially the county court ones), but of course now they can refuse an application to get your claim elevated to the high court despite you having paid for it already because the high court is too busy! I considered submitting a form N316 Application for an order for a debtor to attend court (which is what I’d recommend you do in your situation once your judgement has been registered as it forces the debtors to provide details of all their sources of income, bank accounts etc along with their outgoings to the court which is then provided to you. You can then (if they are employed) apply for an attachment to earnings Form N337 (which is what I have done with mine as I’m confident they are both employed), or you could apply for a third party debt order which would allow you to claim any money held in say a bank account or a deposit scheme. If the debtor ignores or refused to provide the information demanded to the court, it can order their arrest and detention for 14 days, so they will ultimately have to comply. I’ve sent off my forms (one for each person) with a cheque for £220 (£110 per debtor) and I’m now awaiting the outcome. My fingers are firmly crossed but I’m determined to be at the very least a thorn in their sides!

As a side note if you are aware that your debtors have existing ccjs and you suspect they may be working you can carry out a search for any existing attachments to earnings they may already have (form N336), I think the search is free (?) & if they already have attachments you can apply to have yours added to it (once your judgement is awarded) and I don’t think there is a fee (?). The deductions are taken out by the employer directly and sent to the court who distributes it to the individual creditors (less a service charge of so much in the £1)

I hope my recent experience has been of some help in clarifying your options a little. Best of luck!

Mark Connelly

18:57 PM, 2nd May 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Kate Mellor at 02/05/2018 - 18:29
Best of luck Kate mellor it’s worked for me in the past and it gives the answers for what route to get your money back. What right do tenants think they have a right not to pay rent? At least the law can work us in the county courts

Kate Mellor

11:11 AM, 4th May 2018, About 5 years ago

Thanks Mark. Mine not only left with £4200 worth of rent arrears, but they trashed a 3 bed detached new build property into the bargain. The oak flooring downstairs had to be ripped up and skipped! Massive lesson learned. Just because they’re Oxford educated professionals & members of the golf club, does not make them good tenants. 😳 Hopefully we will get somewhere this time around...

Robert M

20:15 PM, 16th February 2019, About 4 years ago

After several years of trying without much success to recover debts from my former tenants (tenants who were on welfare benefits), I have recently tried a debt collection company I'd never tried before, and I am finally getting some significant successes. Previously I had tried 4 or 5 different debt collection companies, including high court sheriffs, but spent far more on fees than any of them had ever recovered from the debtors.

I currently pay £45+VAT for tracing debtors (on a no trace, no fee, basis). - I don't know how this compares generally, but it is much less than the £548.00 that findamonkey (mentioned in an earlier post response) say they trace people for.

I also get debt collection done on a no collection, no fee, basis for the debtors where I have no CCJ. This has so far resulted in some payment by installment agreements being set up.

For those former tenants that I do have a CCJ against, since Oct 2018 the debt collection company I now use has recovered almost £8000 in former tenant debts, and the debtor has to pay the court and bailiff fees, so it has cost me nothing.

Therefore, in my (now changed) opinion, it is worthwhile pursuing all former tenants for recovery of rent arrears/damages even if the debtor was on benefits, as situations can and do change after a few years.

Robert M

20:47 PM, 16th February 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 16/02/2019 - 20:15
If anyone would like the contact details for the debt collection company that I now use, please DIRECT MESSAGE ME and I will give you not just the company details but also the name and direct email address of my contact there.
- I ask that you contact me direct (I'm on Facebook and Linked In) rather than me posting the details online, as I run a not-for-profit organisation that provides supported accommodation for homeless rough sleepers, and we may receive a small commission for any direct introductions. 100% of the commission is used to pay for the provision of support workers to help the homeless.

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