Small Claim win but how do I get the money owed?

by Readers Question

10:31 AM, 1st June 2020
About 2 months ago

Small Claim win but how do I get the money owed?

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Small Claim win but how do I get the money owed?

I won the claim against a tenant who did a bunk leaving arrears and damage. Although she didn’t turn up to the last hearing, the court awarded me the figure I was chasing for.

Do I need to await for something official from the court to say I can now progress getting back the money? Am I allowed to charge interest on top of the full claim since the courts agreed, up until the time I get paid? What is the best way to chase for this money?

I don’t think the ex-tenant is now working, and she may have had a baby. I have what I believe is her last known address and I have her mothers address.

I need the most cost effective (free??) way of trying to get hold of her so I can get this money paid back.

All ideas welcome.

Reluctant Landlord



Comments

terry sullivan

11:49 AM, 1st June 2020
About 2 months ago

i think you have to issue further court proceedings? if you do not chase then the debt will not be registered--are you member of eg rla etc

Richard Adams

13:21 PM, 1st June 2020
About 2 months ago

Terry, there is a simple process for you to get paid which is about as foolproof as any and there are others - using solicitors, County Court Bailiffs etc - which are useless. You say that you won your case so will have received a copy of the County Court Judgement sent to the debtor advising her as such and saying she must pay you in full within 14 days. Of course she will ignore it! So once the 14 days have expired you should contact DCBL (Debt Collection Bailiffs Ltd). Look at their website. The company that feature in Channel 5 TV programme "Can't Pay? We'll Take it Away!". You send them a copy of the CCJ and £66 which is their cost for getting a High Court Writ to pursue the debtor. They won't pursue debts under £600. They write to debtor ordering & advising them to pay fast or they will be visited. She will ignore that letter also so two burly bailiffs will then indeed visit probably early in the morning and they will then extract payment if anyone can. They are empowered to enter premises and take away goods including cars. Where debtor is genuinely a bit skint they often negotiate monthly instalment payments. The two bailiffs get paid on results so they don't get fobbed off. In the unlikely situation where debtor genuinely cannot pay anything they will haul off and you would be advised. So you've lost £66. No big deal. Go for it and good luck. This method has never failed me and yet I read on this forum of landlords basically throwing the towel in re tenants who have left owing rent.
Re interest you should have added that to your claim at outset of the court procedure so best forget it now. DCBL will also help establish correct address for pursuance of the debtor. I have found that tenants like yours doing a runner owing rent are often stupid enough to reveal on facebook where they live or at least post some clues.

terry sullivan

13:23 PM, 1st June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Adams at 01/06/2020 - 13:21
you will get £1 a month if shes on benefits

WP

14:43 PM, 1st June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Adams at 01/06/2020 - 13:21
Have tried Facebook and that's why I think she has had a baby now and isn't working. I haven't received anything from the court at all in regard to paperwork regarding the judgement so first I must chase this, then I'll try DCBL. My only issue is what if she is not at the lat known address? Do they then follow this up as part of the chase, or do I have to open my purse further again....

WP

14:45 PM, 1st June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by terry sullivan at 01/06/2020 - 13:23
I get that but to be honest I want to make her life as difficult as possible. If it means she can't get credit and she know that this debt is following her then great. If she tries to move elsewhere then the next landlord will know that she has done this before too.

Richard Adams

16:56 PM, 1st June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 01/06/2020 - 14:45
Maybe the current coronavirus situation is delaying sending out docs to both plaintiff and defendant after cases have been decided? Best to chase it up like you suggest. You can't start the ball rolling without your copy of the CCJ. I sympathise with your feelings but don't let them get in the way of recovering the debt. With a CCJ against her and why, any future potential landlord will be aware she is a rotten risk anyway. Sadly debtors like her have no fear of their credit rating being trashed. They have not got the wind to borrow anyway. But it is important to nail her just so she, and hopefully other rotten tenants, start to get the message they cannot get away with it. Re Terry's comment that if she is on benefits only £1 a month is payable in instalments, I have no idea if that is a fact but no instalments arrangement would be agreed by DCBL without a decent up front lump sum payment at outset. Any one who has knowledge of how the bailiffs work will know that the debtor is pressed to get family members, friends etc to chip in on the day of their visit by credit card, cash or whatever if necessary. I cannot reiterate strongly enough that what I have suggested works. Difficult to say more without knowing amount of the debt. You can of course phone DCBL before committing to discuss any aspect of the matter. They will be happy to discuss anything. Sorry I wrongly addressed you as Terry in my first comment.

Malcolm Ingham

18:19 PM, 1st June 2020
About 2 months ago

If you know her bank account details, seek a Garnishee Order. I did this many years ago against a double glazing company and it worked a treat.

WP

16:51 PM, 3rd June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Adams at 01/06/2020 - 13:21
I called them today. £66 will trigger a visit to the address she was last known at. If in, the chances are she is still on benefits and wont own anything so they can't take anything. If she isn't at that address then its going to cost me another £80 plus vat to do a trace to find her current address (if she applies for a loan etc and the new address is used). Again chances are she wont be able to get a loan or anything anyway so she wont apply for anything that will trigger a new address being captured, so another dead end. Not sure where to go from here. Social media shows she is still in the area but I can't exactly post a 'Wanted' poster in the local paper can I! Annoying!

Richard Adams

21:09 PM, 3rd June 2020
About 2 months ago

Very difficult to respond without knowing amount of the debt. If it is a tiny amount maybe best to forget the whole thing although a shame to let her get away with it. If a substantial amount surely worth spending £66 and possibly another £90 odd TO HAVE A GO!! She is living somewhere? Has she entered into a new tenancy with some poor unsuspecting landlord or did you say she might be living with mum? Do you live near the area where social media indicates she is and can check out where you believe her address is? I think you said you had an idea? Check with DCBL what they do if they find someone is on benefits because that does not automatically mean they have got nothing. Plenty of cases of girls on benefits being pursued for non payment of rent where bailiffs find when they visit designer handbags etc which is why rent was not paid!! Terry said a benefits receiver can only be made to pay £1 a month if an instalments repayment is suggested? Is he correct? Ask DCBL if they would do what they normally do ie "pressure" her into getting mum, relations, friends etc to chip in? What they are good at is making clear that the issue is NOT going to go away. You can always have another pop at her within 4 or 5 years, can't remember exactly, when maybe she is better placed. The time for discussion has ended. Either go for her with all guns blazing or forget it. Up to you.

WP

10:59 AM, 5th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Adams at 03/06/2020 - 21:09
Richard. Total amount £4943.37. Had a direct chat with DCBL. For £66 they will go to last known address. If in then can enforce and if got assets take away. If in but no assets and on benefits they can do nothing. If she does not live there they suggest another £80 to find if she has applied for credit/new phone etc and therefore her new address then £66 to visit that address (then same senario as above). She wont have applied for credit as would be refused anyway so this seems like a long shot even if this search remains open for 1 year after I instigate it. If at any time she does surface for credit then it will be flagged with DCBl and then they inform me.
If she remains on benefits (yes she is having a baby and as a single mum will get more benefits), DCBL have already stated that they woudn't be interested in pursuing as their costs will be just added to the bill which she clearly is not going to be able to pay.
They suggested trying to keep tabs on her if I know she is still in the area (and she probably wont be moving, small town lots of mates on social media and clearly housed on benefits now and getting more soon, plus mum address local). Maybe if then social media shows that she is 'better off'/new job etc then start the search again. I have up to 6 years to pursue.
I think I may be better to bide my time at present and try and keep tabs on her until such time I can pounce and then hit hard!
Another question - if the court have ruled on this, I presume the CCJ is auto listed under her name so if she applied for credit she will know that there is a debt against her even if she choses not to pay it?

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