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caroline7758
07-03-2006, 15:53 PM
Our tenants are leaving this weekend after a Section 21 order with approx. £1500 arrears. They have other creditors and are getting help from Citizens Advice to write to all creditors making offers of payment in instalments. So we can wait for this, knowing they will probably offer a couple of pounds a week, or we can go through the courts. Presumably, though, even if the court orders them to pay, they can still claim hardship and we won't get any more than by the first route and will have incurred costs which they will just add on to their list of debts?
We have stayed on good terms with them because it's not entirley their fault they have got in this mess, and they do genuinely want to pay us back if they can, but when I heard today that they have been told they are earning too much to get Housing benefit and are going to have to pay £45 a week for the council house they've got, I did wonder what they are spending their money on!
Any views on our best next step, please?

davidjohnbutton
07-03-2006, 16:44 PM
My own method is firstly and foremostly try to get them to pay a reasonable amount based on disposable income after all their reasonable payments have been taken off. For this you need an income and expenditure sheet off them - make it conditional that they have got to fill in one before you will consider instalments.

If instalments fail or you cannot agree, then you will have to issue court proceedings and that will automatically produce an income/exp and assets report if they want to pay by instalments. Then what will happen is a court official will look at the ie sheet and set a limit as to what they can afford and will send you a provisional order which can be appealed to the judge if you disagree with it.

If they ignore the summons, or you put in a pressing argument why instalments are not acceptable, then the judge will set payment down as immediate/14 days/28 days - but they can apply for instalments later on.

You can also apply for an examination as to means but this will cost you more money (£50 fee) or bailiffs - £25 to £55.

One area you may be concerned with is if they have got multiple creditors who have taken them to court, they can get an administration order which means they have one payment to make and the court shares out the money.

You will have to be prepared to recover your money over a very long period of time - I have been chasing one of my debtors for nearly 8 years now and have another one on the go that is over a year old - both just ignore the court processes - the first one frustrates the bailiff by not answering the door. The second one, after an abortive third party debt order on the debtors bank, I have now requested bailiffs - awaiting outcome.

caroline7758
07-03-2006, 17:05 PM
Thanks, David. CAB are doing an ie statement with them, so they should be sending me a copy. What galls me is that the businesses they owe can always set their losses off against tax, while we as individuals can't.
I reckon it would be throwing good money after bad to go down the court route now, so will wait to see what offer they come up with & whether they stick to it. I'll put my energy into getting new tenants asap instead- with proper checks this time!

davidjohnbutton
07-03-2006, 17:42 PM
You can in fact set the loss off against tax by using the amount lost against your gross income from the property.

caroline7758
07-03-2006, 20:12 PM
Good point! Thanks again.