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How can I claim for unpaid rent and missold insurance?

housesHere is a question to the blog clinic from Paul who is an unhappy landlord:

We paid nearly £1000 for full mangement fees and rental guarantee to the estate agents to find a tenant.

One was found and wanted a 12 month contract which we agreed to, the tenant left our property 6 months early owing a potential £4900 in rent.

Have been advised by a solicitor all the rights are with the tenant so pursing them for money may not be an option grin and bear (they moved to London with a better job offer) the tenant agreed to pay any additional costs to get another tenant to take the agreement on and we were happy with that so we weren’t losing money.

He now has refused to pay this, the estate agent has been in touch with them and they refuse to pay anything bearing in mind he has a got a job on a very good wage.

So we said we will claim on the insurance the estate agent sold us, they said we cannot claim because the tenant has moved out “so what” we were sold this £200+vat that it would cover any rent arrears whatever the circumstances.

So now they want us to pay another £350 to find another tenant.

How can I pursue the tenant for the loss of rent and can I claim my money back for what I think is miss sold insurance.

It rather look from what you say as if the tenant paid rent up to the time he left, so the loss of rent you are referring to is future rent.

Subject to what was agreed with the tenant at the time he left, he will be liable for this but on a month by month basis.  You cannot claim the whole of the next six months rent from him up front just because he moved out early.

So what landlords often do is wait until the property is re-let and then claim the rent up to the date the new tenancy agreement is signed, from the tenant.  This is something which should be recoverable from the tenancy deposit.

If claiming from the deposit is not an option for some reason, then you can (subject always to what you or your agents agreed with the tenants at the time)  bring a claim in the Small Claims Court.  If your tenant has a good job he probably won’t want a CCJ registered against him.

It is impossible to advise properly on this without more information but I suspect you will be able to claim for unpaid rent up to the time the property is re-let and any expenses incurred by you finding a new tenant.  But you need to check carefully the terms of your tenancy agreement.

So far as the insurance claim is concerned, you need to check the terms of the policy carefully.

If the policy was inappropriate for you, then you may have a claim against the letting agents for professional negligence.  Also maybe if they encouraged you to act in a way which would make it impossible for you to claim under the policy (f this is in fact what happened).

Buffer

Important note. If you are reading an old post, remember that the law may have changed since it was written.




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2 Responses to How can I claim for unpaid rent and missold insurance?

  1. Typical solicitor advice they don’t want you suing a fellow practitioner.

    The whole key in my view is in paragraph 3 – who said and did what when the tenants indicated they were vacating?

    Were the keys just meekly accepted by the agent and thus implied acceptance of surrender arguably agreed on your behalf by the agent? If so then sue the agent for negligence.

    In all cases where tenants indicate they are off early, and/or keys mysteriously arrive, ALWAYS if you want to protect your position and make them liable for the ongoing rent and Council Tax and any associated financial costs write saying the keys will be accepted on a physical basis only and for security of the property and to enable re-marketing to mitigate the ex tenants otherwise clear legal liability.

    Make it clear that they remain liable for all financial obligations on the property until a new tenant has been found AND has started paying rent

  2. I didn’t actually comment on the solicitors advice. Other than, I suppose by implication as my view is different. I think the tenants ARE liable, but as always there is the practical problem of getting payment from a tenant who has vacated.

    I suspect this could actually have been what the solicitor said – people often don’t remember things correctly.

    I don’t have a problem with people suing solicitors in appropriate cases, in fact I think they should. But they will only have a valid claim if they actually suffered loss as a result of the poor advice.




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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