Tracking down a bad tenant – advice sought please

Tracking down a bad tenant – advice sought please

by Readers Question

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15:46 PM, 29th January 2013, About 12 years ago 41

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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

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Industry Observer

18:47 PM, 1st February 2013, About 12 years ago

Lots of sound advice here and from what I can see all of it legal!! Just be careful when approaching anyone other than the tenant direct - relatives, friends above all employer. All you can do with the latter is a letter in an envelope within an envelope. Same with their bank.

One point interests me and that is a few comments about pursuing the agent - for what? Unless you can show they were negligent, or ar least failed in their Duty of Care, why are they to blame for any of this? Presumabnly you agreed to the dogs for example (only ever accept dogs if there is no other interest in the property and NEVER in a flat even if ground floor).

Another point that intrigues me is the TDP Scheme comment on the deposit. If the agreement provides for it to be retained in the event of arrears why should there be any problem? Admittedly if the tenant raised a dispute over you keeping it you'd have to pay it back in while they adjudicated (I am assuming here it is not already in DPS) but why should there be any problem?

20:50 PM, 1st February 2013, About 12 years ago

I had a set of tenants who defaulted on rent & had caused damage to the property, then after eviction seemed to disappear. I received the deposit but this didn't cover the costs. I was all set to pursue through tracing agents & the courts but it transpired they had debts coming out of their ears. A selection of letters arrived at the property threatening court action for unpaid debts running into many £1000's. Whilst I was very annoyed, especially with my managing agent who'd been reporting the property was fine! I had to take the view that I would be unlikely to recover any money owed & would just endure more costs, hassle & stress.

If the ex tenants have other debts you may find you have the same issue. That said if that had not been an issue I would've pursued them using the methods suggested previously.

21:51 PM, 1st February 2013, About 12 years ago

I have heard of using many texts to send a court notice

22:53 PM, 1st February 2013, About 12 years ago

Also a friend made sure that all on the tenancy were mentioned in the final judgement so they got some shared grief

22:59 PM, 1st February 2013, About 12 years ago

I add a clause in the contract allowing contacting and passing on of all relevant details to authorities.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

0:02 AM, 2nd February 2013, About 12 years ago

Hello all, it really concerns me to read about how many landlords are being ripped off when this is completely avoidable simply by using a decent agent with decent insurance products. It now costs less than £100 to source a tenant and have rent and legal expenses cover for a year. Why would anybody not want that? The mind boggles! It really is possible to pass on the risk these tenants pose to an insurance company for less than £100. The insurance company pays the rent and takes care of all legal costs associated with evictions. The letting agent find the good tenants. I've found an agent who offers a guaranteed refund of their £97 charge if they can't find a qualifying tenant within a month! The £97 package is inclusive of the insurance and the tenant find. For further details please see >>>

14:12 PM, 3rd February 2013, About 12 years ago

I was "done" by a tenant who left owing £2,500 and did a runner. I took the matter to court, through a section 8 as he hadn't left the property or returned the keys, and received a money order and judgement for the balance.

I used a tracing company (Tracesmart I believe but there are many available) who found the tenant's address for £30 and I then used "Newlyn High Court" to enforce the debt. (I had to pay Newlyn £60 to increase the CCJ to a high court writ that they could enforce.

Using the address I provided, and the high court writ, bailiffs visited the property and managed to obtain an agreement regarding payment. They've currently paid £1000 and it's also quite reassuring to know they haven't got away with it and, hopefully, will think twice before trying to do it to someone else!

19:43 PM, 20th February 2013, About 11 years ago


Sorry to hear of your tenants running off. Out of principle the right thing to do would be to take them to the small claims court. In reality the time, effort and uncertainty of the tenants having the means to repay the debt is not worth it. Claim the deposit and write off the rest against tax. As a 20% tax payer this will bring your loss to around £550. Move on, put new tenants in, buy the rent insurance and put this down to experience. I have used the small claims court and as a landlord you will need to prove convincingly you are the wronged party. Sounds simple but this takes time and consumes a lot of your time and emotion.

10:33 AM, 22nd February 2013, About 11 years ago

Well I have contacted Legal4Landlords and paid them £72 to trace the tenants, so far nothing back from them. Hopefully it will not be too long.

James Gordon-Johnson

16:03 PM, 6th December 2013, About 11 years ago

If you need to track the ex-tenant we can locate the current address for you on a no win no fee basis from just 35GBP plus VAT.

All we need is the tenants full name and the tenanted property address and from that we will normally always find the new address.

Find out more at or call us on 01273 252539

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