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Some tenants exploit eviction ban to avoid rent - shocking figures

Eviction specialist Landlord Action says it’s seen a sharp rise in landlords seeking to use its debt recovery service against tenants who could afford their rent but chose not to pay.

Instructions from April 2021 to March 2022 were up 180 per cent compared to the pre-pandemic year of April 2019 to March 2020.

The service says some tenants used restrictions on landlords over the last two years to avoid paying rent, even when they had the means to do so. 

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As a result rent arrears are now higher than ever - partly because landlords are now less likely to write off arrears when a tenant leaves.

The English Housing Survey 2020-21 suggests four per cent of private renters are now in arrears - an estimated 52,000 of the 13m renters.

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action and commercial officer at the Hamilton Fraser Group, comments: “We currently have hundreds of live debt recovery cases, ranging from a few thousand pounds right up to one where the arrears have reached £200,000. 

“What many of our cases have in common is that the tenants had the means to pay. For example, one case is against a practising doctor who owes £42,000.”

Once a judge has granted possession, they will then look at the arrears schedule to see what the landlord is owed. 

As part of the judgement, the judge will order that the tenant pay the arrears owed which will include costs incurred by the landlord for bringing the claim and interest in an amount the court sees fit. 

The tenant will then be issued with a County Court Judgement (CCJ).  

If, however, the tenant does not pay the money that is owed, the landlord can then move to enforcement by instructing a debt recovery company, like Landlord Action.  

The Money Judgment is not registered as a CCJ on the Register of CCJ’s Court Orders and Fines until the landlord attempts to enforce the judgement.

 

Shamplina adds: “If there are substantial arrears and the tenant is employed with a steady level of income, therefore has the means to pay, but has simply stopped paying, it is worth pursuing the money that is legally and rightfully owed to the landlord.

“There are many ways to enforce an outstanding debt such as appointing a High Court Bailiff who can seize goods, apply for a Third-Party Debt Order (freeze bank account) or apply for an order for an attachment of earnings.  

“If a landlord wishes to seize goods on the eviction date this can only be done if a High Court Bailiff is appointed.”

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  • Don Holmes

    We have been seeing this for many years not just the last two, although many more have abused the COVID 19 system put in place to help the vulnerable.
    Issue is though are the right people seeing feeling, or listening to this?
    Such as your MP or housing minister!!

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    No surprise here we have known and suffered this. I had a girl paying half for long period in pandemic in house share / £200. pm to the annoyance of her other house sharers paying £400. pm, guess what she then moved out and purchased with her boy friend, great way to save.
    Removal of S.21 it will be wide spread. Landlords in the main don’t go to Court when you see hundreds of £’s for VAT on your Legal Bill, that should be the cost of whole process not Thousands more as well, so we have to buy Justice.
    Remove S.21 watch your Capital acid devalue.

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    At least you know she has an asset now....

     
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    Chris is right.

    These rent arrears are easily recoverable if she wants a further mortgage in the next six years. You're unlikely to need to go to court as her boyfriend or family will probably want to avoid her getting a ccj.

     
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    I fully agree with Chris and Robert, go after her, these people should never be allowed to walk away from a debt.

     
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    Landlords do not waste your money trying to enforce County Court judgements. Unless the tenant has a good full-time job which they are not likely to leave or a substantial asset like a car worth over £2000 not on finance. By the time the car is seized which costs and what it will get in auction you’re lucky to see £1000 left. There is in practice no way you can enforce a judgement. You just wasting a lot of time and energy and throwing good money after bad.

    As the article points out the CCJ is not even registered unless enforcement takes place and is very unlikely to be traced as the tenant would usually have to disclose their previous address where the CCJ was obtained and they are very unlikely to do this.

    In effect there is no sanction against a tenant who does not pay their rent apart from evicting them. Most tenants move regularly anyway so no great loss to them.

    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy

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    The ccj itself is worth getting even if the arrears aren't recovered.

    Deterrents do work otherwise we would be speaking Russian or Chinese now.

     
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    All landlords have to insist, as a condition of the tenancy, that rent payments will be disclosed to a credit agency. At the moment rent is seen as some kind of optional expense that doesn't really matter.

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    Counting rent payments towards a credit check is a win for good tenants as it can help to build a positive rating for when/if they want to buy. It is positive for landlords because it helps to mark non-payers and would eventually discourage that behaviour. Surely something we can all agree on.

     
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    This is a great tip and something I never thought of but will start doing going forwards. PRS is going to end up like getting a mortgage in terms of background checks because we all know how much risk and expense there is if we are not sufficiently diligent in assessing the risk.

    Is this difficult or costly to set up and run?

     
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    To be honest Steve i haven't done it yet. Experian run something called The Rental Exchange which does exactly that. I'm investigating how to use it. I think for small players you have to go through an intermediary but I haven't got much further with it.

    The concept is definitely something that HAS to happen. I think it would be a game changer.

     
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    Complete agreement with Jim and Chris. Having been through this process you realise the total contempt the government treat our sector. Robbed with taxes and the power of the state working against honest citizens when faced with the dishonest. Nothing short of a disgrace.

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    What do Shelter have to say about this? Nothing! Rather puts a lie to their 'All LLs are scum, all tenants are holy' mantra doesn't it?

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    At last I find myself agreeing with Jim. I had a County Court Judgement for a year’s rent but never received a penny only a big Bill + VAT for legal costs.
    Then I discovered he don’t it again in the next place when I had him traced by his car through Swansea with the aid of the judgment otherwise they tell you nothing, That’s you’re lot for today I must do so work.

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    It seems that whatever a landlord does to reclaim a property or rent owed it just costs more money, adding to the financial loss.
    Tenants move and it is almost impossible to trace them as the data protection laws actually aids their 'crime'.
    I have been in contact with my MP many times and the housing minister who it seems, from their very comfortable financial positions, just aren't interested and simply do not understand the plight of many decent landlords.
    A friend suggested this as a headline in my case ' tenant steals from landlord'. This is what many are doing.

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    I would still get a ccj even if it ended up costing me more.

     
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    I agree with Robert there is a princible here which for me is more important than the money, money claim online is easy and cheap, no need for a solicitor, and lasts for 6 yrs, so if you bump into the debtor 5 yrs later you can nail him/her, revenge is sweet

     
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    I always get a CCJ on point of principle. I believe it hinders them in many ways financially for 6 years, can't get sky TV, mobile phone on contract, loan, mortgage etc etc. Just had bailiffs call me about the latest idiots, they don't answer the door but they have a new car so that's the next step.

     
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    I am surprised to read these reports. It's the law you cannot take things that you not possess. One part of the housing renting falls into this. Hence why are this article is even published. What is the purpose. The business moral is it would be very difficult (and waste of money, time and resources) to go to court or engage agencies to get some pennies out of someone whose probability of having some is extremely small. The moral business is that we need to have the law to protect us when things go wrong. Governments are also responsible with their policies and priorities, they screw people and entire sectors of the community and blame us.
    We need to have a fast damage limitation mechanism to protect us from further losses.
    Why we do not have local fair tribunals to decide the case very quickly.

  • girish mehta

    No doubt shelter will section 21 propaganda for their own benefit. They should also report on county court judgements against tenants failing to pay rent and author damage to property. You won’t hear anything about it . The government will then act on their advise . These are clueless politicians and so called charities run by ex politicians to line their own pockets. It is a scam by the government and politicians. Otherwise they would have solved housing crisis. It being going for decades.No votes or financial gain for them. Easy to divide and rule so they can milk the system for their being it. They need tenants so they can promise and keep on hoping and then don’t do nothing. Each generation will find themselves on a slippery slope to poverty and politicians getting richer.

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    You have hit the nail square on the head there

     
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    I've said it before, Shelter thrives on misery - the more there is, the better it is for them and they can continue justifying their existence (fat salaries, endless taxpayer funding ...). If the housing sector sorted out itself, there'd be no reason for them anymore.

     
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    Girish
    You are very correct.

  • Elizabeth Ablett

    I do not rely on justice anymore. I had a tenant who appeared to a be a drug taker, he turned the room into a tip, urinated all the carpets, trashed the furniture, did not pay rent, scared the other two tenants, never locked the entrance door, very often left the water running or gas hob not switched. I have been to the council, seaked solicitor advice, finally at the Court. The Judge decided in his favour. So far, I decided to bribe the tenant- I calculated that if I have to put the appeal, it would be more expensive than the sum offered to tenant and he agreed to accept the money. That was the only way to get rid of him. Obviously I changed the locks immediately.

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    And they wounder why sometimes it's necessary for us to finds ways around the law

     
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    Elizabeth - your situation mirrors our own experience a year or so ago. The other tenants in the house were absolutely terrified to leave their rooms and their lives were made an absolute misery (along with our own). Receiving UC but keeping the money. We informed UC but they continued to pay him!!! Even solicitor advised a quicker solution was to ‘pay him off’!!!

     
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    Yes but highly dangerous and not advisable.

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    Fortunately I haven't had to try bribery but a very reputable source advised me to do so as going to court was always a gamble.

    I went through with the court case and won the eviction but I would have been a few thousand better off going down the bribery route, however I would ensure that I had a couple of well built guys to witness the rent dodgers signing the appropriate paperwork and to assist them in removing their belongings forthwith.

    Tough times require tough measures and Shelter etc have only themselves to blame!

     
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    I once had to pay a low life a thousand pounds compensation for an illegal eviction, worth every penny, and of course that thousand pounds in his pocket would have lasted less than a month buying drugs and alcohol, I believe that low life died soon afterwards, good , may he rot in hell

     
  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    ... Tenants ' gaming the very weak system Wide OPEN to Exploitation by Rogue Tenants, - constructed by Government ( so it lets Local Authority and state Housing responsibilities off the hook ' )

    Not exactly ' new News '

  • George Dawes

    I find this very hard to believe ..... /s

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    George I’ll tell you what’s hard to believe I had to have two more HM0 Licence Applications made yesterday and pay someone to do it, even though I had licensed them twice before
    myself by paper app’ now a nightmare & so difficult to do. Its all tick boxes that won’t allow you to tell it how it is and up/loads. That’s Saturday am wasted & I am £3’000. lighted for the honour of Compliance requirement + I haven’t received the April Rent they preferred go on holiday and the rent on this house hasn’t increased in 20 years. Take money devaluation and inflation into Account for 20 years + licensing yesterday & 2 previous occasions. It appears the Council has sub-let the process to another Website Company that hates LL’s evidently from their literature and because Council are not capable of doing it but I am required to do it ?. When you have to apply you’ll all find out best of luck.

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    Don’t look on twitter Irish Landlords looses it. when door is broken and no rent, he’ll get a stretch, total disaster !.

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