Tenant has left without paying rent
When a tenant has left without paying rent it is a terrible situation for any landlord to face. If this has recently happened to you, read on. You’ll find a checklist of your next possible actions and the best ways to try and get any money you are owed.
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This article has been written by Ryan Shaw, one of the UK’s leading experts on absconded tenants.
The frustration of it all, that’s the no.1 feeling when you find out a tenant has absconded. Then your mind starts racing, what do you do first?
Here’s a quick checklist for you to follow. There is a definitive order that you should do things,
1. Secure, repair, redecorate and let.
- Whilst the property is stood empty it’s not making you any money, whether you own the property outright or you have a mortgage on it, you need to get some new tenants in asap. We’ll come back to the absconded ones later but for now concentrate on getting it ready to let again.
- Change the locks, if you have to you don’t want the old tenants getting back in.
- Remove all the old tenants personal belongings if they have left any, don’t get mad and throw them away, put them somewhere safe.
- Get in to the property over a weekend and clean up, re-paint, do any jobs that need doing. You’ll feel positive about things if you do, and don’t worry, we’ll be dealing with the absconded tenants later.
- Get it back up for rent, let your agent know that its ready to let again. You should aim to have new tenants in within a couple of weeks. Make sure you do all the necessary checks on the new tenants to reduce the chances of this happening again.
2. Dealing with the Tenant who has left without paying rent.
You have to weigh up how much they owe you and what chance you have of getting your money back before you start to spend even more money. If the tenant left owing rent or has damaged the property then it can be a matter of principle to you. If this is the case then you need to make sure you are doing things in the most cost effective way. Here’s a list of what you should do first…
- Wait six weeks! – frustrating but it gives the ex tenant chance to get their feet under at their new address and start to forget about leaving you in the mess. This will also mean that they leave foot prints that companies like mine can follow!
- If you are planning on going down the court route then you are best doing it yourself, its not expensive and its not hard to do but you do need the tenants new address.
- Obtain the tenants new address, there are many companies that can do this for you
- Once you have the new address you can go to Money Claim Online and put a claim in against them. (https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome)
This should deal with the absconded tenant for you and make sure that you stand the best chance of getting your money back in the most cost effective way.
3. Making sure it doesn’t happen again
The best way to do this, is to make sure you have ALL the following information about a potential tenant BEFORE you give them the keys to your property, make sure you have all this even if you are letting the property through a letting agent, this is the information you need to know if you ever need to trace the tenant to a new address…
- Their full name including middle names
- Previous addresses for at least the last 3 years
- Details of employment including address
- If they are under 30 years old , their parents addresses and names
- Their exact date of birth
- Any mobile telephone numbers
- If they have any CCJ’s already
- Their partners full name
- And if the partner is on the tenancy agreement all the above details about them too
- A credit check on them, this will help you to confirm that the information they have provided is correct
So if a tenant has left without paying their rent, I hope that this guide will have helped you put things into perspective and help you focus on what you need to do and when you need to do it.
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