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Small Claims Court


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I would be interested of anyone’s experiences of pursuing unpaid rent through the small claims court.

I have two tenants on an AST rolling tenancy (fixed term expired). To date their tenancy has been managed by a letting agent.

They have always been slow at paying rent, but in the past after a reminder letter or two they have always paid up in full and I have therefore always assumed the late payment was due to their laziness rather than anything more concerning. However, they have now accrued arrears of three months totalling £1,600. The agents have put it through their credit control department, but all attempts to get an agreement have failed. I did not opt for the agent's legal protection and so they have handed the arrears over to me to decide if I want to pursue legal action.

There is a guarantor who has also been written to, but no response.

I am considering sending them all (including guarantor) one final letter myself clearly setting out the position and warning them that a claim will be issued if payment not made in full by a particular date (probably two weeks’ time). However, I have never pursued a tenant through the courts before and I wondered what experiences people have had of this.

I am confident that between the two tenants (partners) and the guarantor (I believe a family member) that they will have sufficient funds to pay the outstanding amount, so I am not concerned about any dangers of them simply never paying. They are also in employment (or at least were when they moved in) so credit risks from a court judgement may also help focus their minds.

Notice has also been given by the tenants to move out at the end of July.

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3 months rent owing! Get them out.

You need to serve papers before they leave the premises if taking court action or you will have to use a tracing agent such as www.findermonkey.co.uk and pay a fee to get their new address.

I would contact the guarantor immediately requesting a response in 7 days and copy this to the tenants. Could it be that the guarantor has died or moved house? Was he/she an elderly person? This could be why the tenants have decided not to pay knowing that the guarantor is no longer around. Check on www.192.com on the free part and see if guarantor is still at that address.

It is quite straightforward to do moneyclaim online - google it for more info and the fee is less than the county court. I have been successful with it 5 times out of 5 so far.

I would also check to see if the tenants have already accrued any CCJ's recently - this might give you a clue as to what is going on.

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I wouldn't waste more effort on letters I would serve through MCOL.

I'm open to correction but believe we can take 2 parties to the County Court.

Since the G'tor is usually the strongest possibility of recovery that would be one of them, the other being the associated T.

Let the three then argue the toss between them.

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What I have done in the past and has worked is to attach the filled in court papers to the letter before action which also states when you will submit them to the court . It proves you are not bluffing.

This does cost anything other than a bit of time.

I also agree with the above, add both tenants and guarantor to the court papers.

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