Tracking down a bad tenant – advice sought please

by Readers Question

15:46 PM, 29th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Tracking down a bad tenant – advice sought please

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Tracking down a bad tenant – advice sought please

Tracking down a bad tenant - advice sought pleaseI have a single rental property which I bought in 2009. I refurbished it to a good standard and rented it to a young couple using an agent on a tenant find basis. The agent took the deposit. I allowed them to have dogs at the property.

The young lady and dogs left, and a new young lady arrived, as did chinchillas.

In October last year they gave me notice and when I spoke to him on the phone he said they would need to move to her mother’s for two weeks before moving on to their new home. I rather nicely said that they could stay on until it was convenient and pay rent accordingly, they agreed and left the property 8th December 2012. They left a disgraceful mess and didn’t pay the extra rent.

They now owe me £1,200 for damage and unpaid rent, but I only have £550 deposit.

I have no forwarding address, and only an e-mail and mobile phone number. I have sent a full report with photos etc. and a breakdown of the costs to them by e-mail, giving them 28 days to pay. This 28 days is up now.

I want to pursue the outstanding amount and I’m looking for advice as to how to do so.

The deposit holder has apparently said that my case will be weakened if I take the deposit money now, so I have left the deposit with them.

Is there an easy way to track them down? I don’t think they have moved far. And do I need to track them down to start proceedings?

I think I know who his employer is. Can I try to contact him there, or does this move into harassment territory?

Should I go straight to the online small claims court? And if so how do I do this without an address.

Any advice gratefully received.

Kind regards,

 

David Adams



Comments

Mark Alexander

8:23 AM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi David.

Before I begin to try and offer advice I need a bit more information please.

Did the agent who found the tenant with the dogs also find you the next tenant? If so, what is the relevance of the first tenant?

What checks did the agent do for you? Did they get the tenants to complete an application and did they fully reference them? If they did you should have lots of details including NI number, proof of identity such as a driving licence and passport etc. All this is useful for tracing people. The application should also have contained details of the tenants employers at the time and may also have contained details of previous landlords and the tenants relatives. If an agent was involved in the process of finding these tenants for you then it would have been very remiss of them not to have obtained the information I've mentioned above and you may even have a valid claim against them.

With regards to making contact with your tenants employer I see no harm in this.

It will be interesting to see what others add in their comments.

Good luck!

10:42 AM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi Tony, very sneaky thinking regarding the vets, I like it! I don't follow the bit about the previous address being on the AST though, do you mean the application form?

Robert Hartley

16:54 PM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi David

If you know their employers, you can apply to the local court for an attachment of earnings to pay for the damages.

17:58 PM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

First thing you do is get your deposit back. Then pursue the remaining £650. The deposit holder would live to return it to the tenant, whatever the situation. In fact, if the tenant asks for it, they'll give it to them immediately ! So get it back now...

Don't you have the mothers address ? If not, I believe you could issue online claim (£35 approx.) at the address they just left. Then when you get default judgment, contact the Employer and also get 'attachment of earnings' order if they do work there.

I may have a similar situation pending. But have address of her mother, her father, his parents. At least I'll get judgment on current address and then ensure 'linked' records are put on all three cred agencies to the other addresses. Even better if I discover their new landlord address...

Mark Alexander

19:03 PM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Remember to register this tenant with LRS too – it’s completely free! See >>> http://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk/

Adrian Jones

20:07 PM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Morning David,
Bad luck. I think Mark has covered most of the points. I had a similar problem (£1,500) and contacted the employer who agreed to deduct £200 a month from their wages until the debt was cleared.
Amazingly it worked!
You say you don't think they have moved far so it might be worth checking Electoral Rolls.
One other thing is that some solicitors offer a free consultation for initial advice. Worth a try as it might give you some free pointers. I used it last year and they even wrote a couple of letters and did not charge.
Good luck.
Adrian

Paul Fenton

21:11 PM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

I would call his employment to check he is there and if you decide to serve a notice on him check if it is acceptable legally to do at place of employment? I am not sure . If you took next of kin details on the origonal tenant application form call them up for details you need to work out your approach so this information is forthcoming. Once you can serve notices and take it to court to get a court order then if no payment get an attachment to earnings with his current employer, you will need certain information which should have been taken on your the tenancy application form . If the tenant becomes unemployed it will be difficult to get any payment

Mark Alexander

22:11 PM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi David

Further thought, as a matter of interest which deposit provider was used? I'm struggling to understand how claiming the deposit now would prejudice further claims on the tenant. What exactly did you depot protection providers say please?

23:12 PM, 30th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Register the tenants with http://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk and http://www.tenantid.co.uk, you never know their next landlord may contact you for a reference and therefore be able to tell you their address.

Also find a new agent, as you paid the agent a lot of money so you did not need to ask questions like this!

0:13 AM, 31st January 2013
About 6 years ago

The best way for the landlord posing the question to proceed is first, to go to the original AST agreement to find any previous address even if it was rented. Contact the previous landlord if possible. Then to speak to any neighbours to get some clues as to the tenant's home town or relatives or employment. Data protection laws will prevent any employer from giving information but, if they confirm the tenant works there, the
landlord can ask if a letter to the tenant can be given to them. That will alert the former tenant that s/he is being tracked down. There is no point in initiating County Court action as an address for service
is required, incidentally not a PO number. I write as a lawyer. And, this is a long shot, how about contacting local vets to see if the tenant (or rather the dog!) is registered with any of them. The vet can be told
s/he has left something belonging to the dog behind (certificates?).

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