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Tenants leaving massive debt

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Hi All,

Just thought I'd ask for a bit of advice on this one...

Had some tenants who've been with me for several years leave rather abruptly (not giving me a forwarding address). They didn't actually owe me anything, (rents always paid on time etc) but it was only after they had left and I've been renovating the property that I found out why they ran, basically the rent was the only thing they paid!

The gas and elec had a court order to enter the property and cut them off, luckly I got this stopped. But then the debt collection letters started coming thick and fast. Anything up to 2-3 per day. We've got about 30 companies chasing them now and the total debt is around £40k.

I've written to them all explaining that I don't know where they live but I know that these companies either just seem to take no notice or sell the debt onto another company who try again. I've got another property where this has been going on for over 10 years now, every 6 months or so a new debt collection co. writes looking for my old tenant. That I can handle, but when there's 30+ companies, the letters will never stop!!

As I said they don't actually owe me anything but I'm just worried I'm never going to see the end of this and all future tenants will be bothered by the letters. Thankfully it's only letters at this stage, only one company has come calling round so far.

I've tried contact my tenants to let them know but of course they won't respond (surprise spurprise!)

Any ideas what else I can do?

Is it true that properties can become black-listed since there has been so much bad debit in the past? Will future tenants have any problems getting credit?

Also on a side issue, I know the company who did the reference for their new property, at that time I didn't know about this problem, but now I do, how on earth did they pass a credit check!!

Many thanks,

Trevor.

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In the last recession of 1990 I was buying up repossessed properties and I use to get loads of debt letters and the odd visit from the Bailiff's. The letters all went into the bin and the Bailiff's went away when I showed them my ID when asked.

It is not your problem Trevor and yes, the debts are sold on to various debt collecting companies and it is their responsibility to track down the non payers for their commission...not you.

Mel.

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You are not liable for the utility debts. Did they pay the council tax? The landlord can be held liable for the CT but if your local authority has not approached you yet don't go looking for them!

I am astounded by the credit check but could be that no judgement has been brought against the ex-tenants - yet!

The address can be black listed but once there are new occupants this should go away. It can be worthwhile telling debt collectors this and tell them of agency who ref''d tenants as they may give new address out - you could as well come to that?

Mortitia

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You are not liable for the utility debts. Did they pay the council tax? The landlord can be held liable for the CT but if your local authority has not approached you yet don't go looking for them!

I am astounded by the credit check but could be that no judgement has been brought against the ex-tenants - yet!

The address can be black listed but once there are new occupants this should go away. It can be worthwhile telling debt collectors this and tell them of agency who ref''d tenants as they may give new address out - you could as well come to that?

Mortitia

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I usually provide my new tenants with a few sheets of printed labels stating in large letters "RETURN TO SENDER, No longer at this address".

If a previous tenant gives me a forwarding address I will provide a few sheets with new address.

After a few weeks the problem diminishes.

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Thanks guys... still the letters come, we're up to about £46k now and quite a few catalogue companies who are asking why they haven't been paid which will turn into debt collection letters soon.

Mortitia, Strangely I think they did actually pay the CT. I did see a letter on their table several years ago about being over £1500 in debt, but when I called up to change it over they didn't even ask for a forwarding address. I know the guys at the council pretty well now and they usually let slip if they are keen to speak to them! I've never heard of a landlord being liable for CT, in what situation would I be liable??

Chestnut, thanks that's a great idea! I think I'll get some labels done just like you suggest! Don't know why I hadn't thought of this before!

Regards,

Trevor.

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Some Councils and now most Utility Companies will now hold the Landlord responsible for outstanding tenant debts IF the Landlord has not informed them of tenant occupancy plus a meter reading.

Mel.

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Changing the subject slightly dont forget that if you rent out a property and all the tenants have their own contracts the council tax is legally the responsibilty of the landlord but if the tenants are all listed as joint tenants it isnt.

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