Here is a question to the blog clinic from James who is a landlord:
I am a landlord and after my tenant stopped paying rent I was forced to evict them. I received an Order for Possession from the Court and a money judgement against them and they left the property.
I don’t expect to get any of the rent arrears from them but when I asked my letting agent to pay me the tenant’s deposit I was told that only the tenant could authorise them to do so and that the money judgement did not specifically say that I could receive the deposit.
They have tried for months to reach the tenant but they seem to have disappeared. How should the landlord get the deposit in this case? The tenant has not claimed it and I am in limbo.
This situation can be a real problem – the DPS will not pay out the money to you against a Court Judgment unless the Court Order specifically says this.
But sometimes even when you ask the Judge to do this at the hearing they will refuse.
There is an answer, you will be pleased to hear. It is a court enforcement procedure call a ‘third party debt order’.
This is a procedure where, if you are able to show the court that someone or an organisation owes money to or holds money for the Judgement Debtor (ie you), they will order that money to be paid to you, to satisfy (in whole or in part) your judgment.
It is usually used where the judgement creditor finds that the judgement debtor has a bank account which is in credit – but it could certainly be used in your situation. You will have to pay out the court fee but this can be added on to the judgement debt.
You will find an explanation of the process in this pdf document provided by the Court Service >> here.
After Note – I have been contacted by a couple of people saying that the DPS will pay being sent a statutory declaration. Here is one message I have been sent:
if a tenant disappears leaving a debt of rent owing and cannot be contacted at all ie not leaving a forwarding address etc then all you have to do is get a statutory declaration signed by a solicitor (cost abt £5 ) send it to the DPS with a full explanation and they will release the money fully back to the agent. No problem we have as an agent done this successfully many times