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What can I do if a tenant vacated with no forwarding address and unpaid rent


What can I do if a tenant vacated with no forwarding address and unpaid rent?

A common difficulty is that the tenant often leaves no forwarding address. Before the landlord, as creditor, can take enforcement action to recover the debt, he will need to be able to trace the tenant, or at least any assets the tenant owns.

This is where pre-tenancy information such as place of employment or addresses for next of kin can be useful in tracing defaulting tenants. Employment details are particularly valuable as they allow the landlord to apply for an attachment of earnings order. Landlords can employ a tracing agent many of whom operate on a success-only fee basis.

If it proves impossible to locate a tenant but a guarantor exists, they may be approached for the rent arrears. It may even be necessary to take proceedings against the guarantor to obtain a judgment and thus recover the debt.

Of course, the ex-tenant may have no assets of significant value so carrying on with the process would be uneconomic. In these circumstances, it may be better to stop the enforcement process and write off the debt. Collecting rent arrears and enforcing a court judgment can be costly and time-consuming.

If the debt is economic to collect, talk to Access Legal’s landlord law team about taking legal action or consider putting the debt in the hands of a debt collection service.

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