Recovering money from evicted tenants

Recovering money from evicted tenants

It`s always a worry for landlords that something will go wrong with their contract with a tenant, and although most tenants are reliable and trustworthy, those who fall into arrears or cause problems can leave the landlord jaded about the whole buy-to-let market. Nevertheless, there are specific laws that apply to the landlord/tenant relationship where money is concerned, so although certain procedures need to be followed, recovering money from a tenant who has been evicted from a property is not impossible.

Under the Statute of Limitations Act, you have up to six years in which to sue a defaulting tenant for any money that they may owe you. This is particularly useful in instances where the tenant claims to have no assets at the moment, as it means that the money needn`t be written off. There are different reasons that an evicted tenant may owe you money. They could have fallen into arrears or damaged the property, or you may have been awarded a money order with possession that the tenant has failed to honour. In the case of the latter, the court can take action such as deducting money directly from the tenant`s wages or bank account or instructing bailiffs to recover goods to the value of the money owed.

It is imperative that your actions as a landlord are beyond reproach and that no matter how frustrated you may get with the tenant`s non-payment, you do not resort to behaviour that may be considered to be threatening or intimidating. There is legal recourse available for most circumstances and adhering strictly to the law will help should matters go to court. If you haven`t followed procedure, the case could be dismissed and you`ll have to start the eviction procedure all over again.

In order to demonstrate that your behaviour has been unimpeachable, it`s a good idea to seek help in the early stages from a reputable solicitor who specialises in the Landlord and Tenant Acts that may apply (primarily, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985). They will be able to help you deal with the various notices that are initially needed in order to lawfully evict your tenant, then will be able to follow through on any recovery procedures required with regard to monies owed.

Services often provided by a specialist solicitor in assisting a landlord to recover outstanding money include advice on;

? Tracing
? Bankruptcy
? CCJs
? Bailiff appointment in order to seize goods from the tenant.
? Attachment of earnings orders.
? Charge orders against a property.

Once all the avenues for reclaiming money from the tenant themselves have been exhausted, it may be time to seek recompense from any guarantor that the tenant may have used when initially forming the contract. The wording of the Guarantor Agreement is crucial, as it forms a legal contract that will be enforced by the courts according to how it is worded. There is no standard form for a Guarantor Agreement, nor is it specifically covered by a statute, so the best way to ensure that the contract suits your needs and is legally enforceable is to have it drawn up by a solicitor.

Of course, before you take legal action, it is always wise to do your own research as to your options. A site such as Money Tips can offer a great first port of call for financial advice of all kinds and the more knowledge you have, the better you will be able to decide what the best way forward may be before paying out for advice.

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