In 2013, spread over 157 properties, we have only wrote off £53 of rent debt! – THAT’S 3p per property per month!!
How have we accomplished this?
1. We have the right criteria when taking on new tenants – our starting process is correct!
2. Exceptional operational procedures in place to deal with rent debt when it happens – because it does!
Well that’s the GOOD, THE BAD, what about the UGLY- what do we do when the tenant does a runner and owes rent?
We have tried various ways over the years but the one that definitely works is a County Court Judgement (CCJ)!
It’s surprising how many landlords bring properties to us to manage where they have let their tenants “off the hook” when they leave owing a lot of rent debt and perhaps a lot of damage behind as well. Landlords are often so relieved to have got possession of their property again, so happy to see the back of a nightmare tenant, that they are completely resigned to taking a big loss.
Does this sound familiar?
It need not be like that. The courts are there to enforce contracts, and that’s what you should do. Tenants that get away with it will almost always go on to do it again to some poor unsuspecting landlord. You may need to trace the tenant once they leave as you have to have their address to take them to court. Tracing agents will easily find most people when you have a few details about them. If you used a good tenancy application form you will have more than enough information, and the trace fee can be added to your claim.
There are four steps to winning a County Court Small Claims action and successfully obtaining a County Court Judgement (CCJ):
1. Can the tenant pay? If they are working or professional people, almost certainly, yes, eventually.
2. Do you have the evidence? You must have good documentary evidence if you are to win. A rental application form, a tenancy agreement, the correct deposit documents, a good inventory, a rent schedule showing what was received and what is owed and when, backed by your bank statements, letters showing your rent demands when in arrears and a statement of what is owed in total.
3. Can you put together a good case? Keep it simple and concise, and avoid waffle in the claims and evidence statements – “rent arrears” and “damage” is often all that’s required by way of a description.
4. Can you act professionally in court? Keep emotions and arguments out of it. State your case clearly and simply and don’t respond to spurious insults or accusations by the defendant.
Is a County Court Judgement (CCJ)worth the paper it’s written on when you still don’t have the money? Yes it definitely is. Working and professional people will find it difficult to continue a normal life with this hanging over them. They will struggle to obtain tenancies, credit, finance, mortgages, insurance etc. You will find that 90%-95% per cent of tenants will pay up once the judge has agreed they owe you the money, most before the CCJ is registered against them – they have 14 days to do that. Once a CCJ is made, and the money is not paid within a grace period, it will be entered in the Registry of Judgments, Orders and Fines. This means that anyone doing a check on the individual with a credit reference agency will find they have the order against them. Any credit reference agency, used by a landlord or any other creditor, will hold details of the debtor’s CCJ, taken from the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines. Most debtors will pay up once they come up against problems when creditors find they have a CCJ.
NGU HOMELETTINGS- can help!
NGU Homelettings are experts in getting unwanted tenants out of your property and getting outstanding rent back.
We are currently offering half price management for the first six months for any new managed property. If you would like to find out more please get in contact with us.
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