Q. My tenants have now vacated but they did not pay the final rent which was £900. I did take a deposit but taking into account the damage done to the property and the cleaning (the property was left in a filthy state) there is still £600 due to me for rent arrears. How can I recover this? They did not leave a forwarding address.
A. The answer to this question is normally ‘with great difficulty’. If the tenant owes you money which he is unwilling to pay, the only way you can force payment is through the courts. However, this is not an easy process. It is also expensive, particularly if you use solicitors. So before starting you need to consider whether it
will be a worthwhile use of your time and money.
For example, if the tenant is without any assets and does not have a regular job, it is probably a waste of time. Bear in mind that you will have to pay court fees. Then if the tenant fails to pay, you will also have to pay the court fees for enforcement of the Judgement, so it can end up being quite expensive.
The main ways of enforcing County Court Judgements (CCJs) is by sending in the bailiffs and/or by an attachment of earnings order (if the tenant has a job). Both are unlikely to raise much money although if an attachment of earnings order is made you may, after a long time, recover your money so long as the tenant does not lose his job. There is also a court procedure you can use to get the contents of the debtor’s bank account paid over to you. However, as most tenants are overdrawn this is unlikely to help you either.