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Tenant left : Unpaid rent and £10k works required


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Hi all I rented a property to a tenant on HB through a local county rent deposit scheme where they held a deposit of 1.5 of the monthly rent. Now the tenant has left leaving approx. £2000 of unpaid rent and basically wreaked the house... will need a professional clean, decorating through and a new bath room and kitchen. he left 2 weeks before the check out date and I have no forwarding address In terms of taking him to the small claims court how does it work....do I need to see he and give him the papers....record letter to an address (how do I know he has actually got them if he lives with other people at the same property how many have signed for it.....can anything be sent by email..I do have his email address and I am 95% sure he reads my emails although his does not reply. I am petty sure he is either living locally or at his parents but I can't be sure ? Any advice would be gratefully received Many thanks for your time Regards Mike

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1. You have to have a postal address at which to serve court papers. They are generally served by post, but you can opt to serve by hand yourself or via (I think, but you would need to check) a bailiff. Using a bailiff would of course be a lot more expensive.

 

2. Before serving court papers you need to have made all reasonable attempts to obtain the money yourself. This involves usually sending a 'letter before action' (LBA) detailing exactly what you are claiming with evidence where appropriate. For example, you would need to include a copy of the invoice for cleaning. The LBA is usually sent by post but doesn't need to be recorded delivery - sometimes sending by recorded just gives the defendant the opportunity to refuse delivery which also proves he hasn't had the letter. In your case, since you don't have an address, I think it would be reasonable to send an email which makes it clear that you are intending to pursue the outstanding amount through the courts if necessary and if you have to use a tracing agent to obtain an up to date address the costs will be added to the claim. If the previous tenant doesn't then provide you with an address you could use whatever means you can think of to find him and pass on any expense. Alternatively you could say in the email that papers will be served at his parents address unless you are informed of an alternative.

 

3. If you can't get him to pay any other way you may have to go to court however before doing so you should think carefully about whether it is in fact worthwhile. It does involve some up front cost to you and, though you would appear to have a good case, the judge may award all, some or none of what you claim and there is no guarantee that you will ever actually be paid anything that is awarded. Just from what you have posted I have serious doubts about whether you would ever get a penny out of this person - have you any reason to believe they either have a job so you could try for an attachment of earnings or have enough assets for bailiffs to seize to pay off the debt?

 

I take it you have got the deposit back at least, and any outstanding housing benefit.

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RMW

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reallymadwomanThank you very much for a prompt, informtive and helpful reply...Is there a set template which I could use for the LBA or do i just state the amount outstanding (rent and damage) and what action will be taken if they fail to pay ?Many thanks again and kind regardsMike

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There is no template for an LBA, nor should there be.

 

The bottom line is that the letter needs to tell the person you are claiming against exactly what you are claiming and why.

 

You need to include an itemised list of everything that you are claiming, and include copy invoices/estimates etc. You also need to give a reasonable time limit to receive a reply and their proposals for payment, 21 days would probably be reasonable in these circumstances.

 

Though Sequenci is of course perfectly correct that you can send everything to the last known address, since you know they aren't there I think you should at least make an attempt to find them as otherwise you're not going to get any money out of them anyway, just be sure before you incur any extra cost that you're not throwing good money after bad.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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