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My tenant has vanished owing rent monies...help!


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I have a three bedroom student flat where one of the students has been in rent arrears since they moved in in September 2006, he has made an effort to clear amounts here and there but not within the last month and a half.

To date he owes £750.00.

The other two tenants have been fantastic and have been getting increasingly frustrated with the tenant that has not been paying - As they are on a joint and several contract I have been copying them in on all letters sent to the non paying tenant as if we have to take court action it will also affect them.

The non paying tenant came to see me last week and told me his visa was running out and he would have to return home to Greece to renew it (?!). He also gave the impression he may not return. I wrote to him detailing our discussion explaining he could sub let if he didn't intend to return I also made it clear he would have to pay his arrears so that the other tenants weren't brought into clearing the debt for him or facing further action.

He appeared conserned that this could affect the other tenants however I have been informed today he has cleared his room and left his keys in the house.

As he has potentially left the uk and no one can contact him is there any way of taking action to recover the money now he is not in the county?

I have written to his parents in Greece but if they don't pay do I have any other option but to get the other two tenants to pay his money for him?

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I'm sure there are a few experts who can advise you regarding what you can do legally. However, I am in the process of evicting someone right now, it is not pleasant and is very drawn out. You say that the other tenants have been really great, why risk losing them, you most certainly will if you insist that they pay the errant tenants arrears. My theory is that you should always try your best to keep your good tenants. If you pursue them, there is a chance that you will still not get the arrears, will run up legal bills and lose the good tenants, plus re-advertising, new agreements... and so on.

I would research tenant abandonment on the net, take lots of photos, get avidavits from the other tenants to support the abandonment issue, then crack on with finding another tenant. Next time when someone is in arrears, don't take excuses, hit them with a section 8.

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Hi Red,

I totally agree with pugsy.

Don't risk upsetting the other 2 tenants just for the sake of a few hundred quid that isn't owed by them at all! I appreciate that the students are "jointly and severally" liable for the rent - but it seems as though the remaining students and you have done your best to get the "missing student" to pay their rent and you have all failed. Why penalise the good students just because the other student wouldn't pay?

I think you should move on, cut your loses, and find a new tenant to replace the missing one.

Do not pursue the remaining tenants for the outstanding debt otherwise you might find yourself looking for 3 more tenants ... rather than just 1.

Good luck,


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compleatly agree, for the sum of £750.00 that the tenant owes, might cost you several times more than this in order to persue the remaining tenants for the money that the greek tenant left.

at the same time though, you dont want to send a message to the remaining tenants that if one of them was to run up arrears on the property, the other would not be responsable.

so maybe a meeting with the 2 remaining tenants explaining that "this time" you are not going to be chasing them for the remaining rent. but at the same time, point out that they are jointly responsable for the arrears, and if it was to happen again the remaining tenant would be liable.

from the sounds of thing's 2 out the 3 tenants seem to have bonded, and the 1 tenant that felt excluded has done a runner.

it might be worthwhile aproaching the 2 remainting tenants and seeing if there is a common freind between the 2 that might be interested in renting the 3rd room.

if they are all getting along, then there is less chance of 1 of them disapearing into the night with arrears that will have to be paid by there freinds.

of course not just any tom, dick or harry that the tenants might suggest.. but better than putting a compleate stranger into a already established household.

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I had a similar situation although within the uk not in Greece !

If you owed the two tenants £750 would they feel sorry for you and "let you off" ? Thought not!

I appreciate it wasn't their fault but they signed the agreement and Joint and several is clear as mud - stop being a >><<>><<>>< and tell them to either get hold of their friend and get the money or it will come out of the bond at the end - in my case they remaining tenants put so much pressure on the absent friend that she or rather her mother paid up. You need to send a clear message that rent will be payable - in my case i have no choice as a lot of my properties are close together and the tenants all know each other and word gets about you are a soft touch!

Also worth writing a very strong letter to the parents in greece informing them that you will be employing the services of a debt collector (at no cost to you but could be very large cost to them) If you tenancy agreement is any good you should also be in a position to charge interest as well - I would also detail the position the other two have been put in and appeal to their better nature.

If you do this carefully there is no reason to fall out with the other two

and if they are students they will probably be leaving at the end of June anyway (12 Weeks)

Or Just say nothing and take it out of their bonds when they leave and let them sort it out with their friend

Why buy other other people's problems

I certainly wouldn't let someone take £750 from my childrens food budget - why would you ?

As for room - relet it asap

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