Here is a question to the blog clinic about rent arrears from Jummy who is a landlord
I have a tenant who has refused to per her rent for over four months.
I have started a court case to repossess the property but the court case is two months away!
The rent arrears owed now is over £5000 and I am worried that I will lose all this money. How can I persuade the tenant to leave my property now? I know she is unlikely to be able to pay what she owes already but each month she stays, the more money I lose.
Another alternative line of action I have considered is this: I suspect the tenant is getting Housing Benefit. Is it possible to get the benefit paid to me directly?If so, how do I go about it?
This is my only buy-to-let property and I am already regretting getting myself into this. Thank you
I have some good news for you and some bad news. First the bad news.
Getting the tenant to move out
I am afraid that, however serious the rent arrears, unless the tenant is willing to go, you cannot force her to leave without a court order (and then only by using the court bailiffs).
You could maybe try to persuade her by pointing out that if you get a CCJ for the rent arrears, this will affect her credit rating and ability to get another property.
Getting the rent arrears back
So far as this is concerned, as you say, you are most unlikely to get the money any time soon.
The only possibility I can see is to get a CCJ for the rent arrears (you should get this as part of your claim) and then wait a couple of years when hopefully the tenant will be in a better position financially and enforce it then.
For example if she gets a job you could get an attachment of earnings order.
You can enforce a CCJ at any time during the next six years.
Getting the housing benefit paid to you
Here the news is better. As the rent arrears are more than eight weeks worth, you can write to the Housing Benefit Office and ask them to pay the rent direct to you in future.
The Housing Benefit Regulations provide for this so they should agree to do it.
On my Landlord Law site there is a special letter for members to use to send to the benefit office.
Just as a general rule, it is most important that landlords check tenants carefully before accepting them as a tenant.
As you have seen it can take a long time to get them out if they prove unsatisfactory or run up rent arrears.
So be very careful about letting them in, in the first place.