How do I go about claiming damage through a small claims court?

Hi Mr _T - none of us are experts here but venture our own opinions or experiences to try to help where we can, but in my own personal experience it tends to be tough cookies for Landlords, particularly if the tenants do not have the funds to pay for their damage. You may have an entirely different experience if you pursue these tenants through the courts. Good luck.

1 Like

I do think that bad tenants should be named and shamed. I wrote my tenants a reference, do I could get them out. I’ve had to rescind the reference, as they tried to deceive me with hiding damage

Do you mean you wrote a reference to get them out and you knew it was lies? Where they with another landlord when you withdrew it ?

They should still be named and shamed, so that other landlords don’t have to go through the same trauma…

1 Like

My reference wasn’t lies. It was very brief, and included my contact information.

Thank you.
I will look.

Know how you feel. We helped ours too. Leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.

Thanks Anne.
I had bad experience with the DPS would never agree to their adjudication service again.
But as you say doubt the court would be any better.

I agree an online claim is much easier and the good thing is that if the defendant who is the other party the ex-tenants do not defend it within two weeks, you ask for judgment and get a judgment by default. Following this you can arrange for a bailiff to collect the money assuming that the tenants have money to give you.

If you get a form from the courts, it will take you months to get a judgment as the courts have a huge backlog due to Covid-19.

I get online judgments very regularly. The protocols are all on the money claim website. You will have to pay a court fee which can be claimed back from the defendant.

The Defendant can always contest a default judgment but that will cost them a court fee as well if they do. In such a case it goes to a hearing which is not worth it if the amount you are claiming is very small.


It’s a simple enough process but not quick one.
Firstly get quotes for the replacement/repairs needed write if you have a forwarding address to ex tenants explaining the damages and costs, send by recorded delivery or
even better hand deliver and take date stamp pics as evidence of posting notifying them that this is a letter before action giving them a date by which you expect to receive payment after which you intend to recover the amount plus your court costs. If it gets to court and they get a CCJ and still don’t pay you can send in the bailiffs (but they know there coming so remove anything of value) send if the sheriffs (unannounced great if they have anything worth removing ) or an attachment of earnings order ( my preferred) whereby the court orders there employer to deduct x amount and sends to you all of there’s court processes have fees which you can ask to be added to the original debt.
Perseverance is the name of the game but very satisfying in the long run.

1 Like

Jotinda, Clint & Lynn1 provide the clear factual details and advice to be followed.

Added to this, there is the option to place a block on their bank account following a successful claim, if you have the details available to you.

I have been through a number of court cases and won all to some degree. The courts will always favour the tenant, and use their best efforts to reduce the claim for whatever reason, usually the fair wear and tear premise. Of course winning does not mean getting your money back, although I’ve had a measure of success in that direction.
I have even overturned inept decisions from the DPS arbitration service on 2 occasions. However, even then, you will never get a fair compensation from them, as it’s coming out of their coffers because they’ve already paid out the deposit to the tenant against their original flawed decision.

It was once said to me that there is no point throwing good money after bad, in court proceedings, and to some degree I would agree, particularly if you cannot be sure they have any assets worth chasing if they refuse to pay voluntarily. However, it is a relatively easy and cheap exercise to invoke a CCJ, if the claim is not contested, particularly on ‘money claim on line’, and I tend to do this where I feel especially snubbed. Just occasionally, the miscreant cannot live with a CCJ and pay up. I once had a guy pay back £1,500+ in just such a circumstance, I saw this as a bonus and utilise these funds to apply CCJ’s whenever I see fit.

Good luck.


Court case are very slow and cost money for landlord to pay the cost first, usually £200-300 upfront you need to pay to get your money back. Court requirment made it hard for landlord as well. DPS is not easy too. DPS helpline person told me once if I need to use their arbitration service, I need to prepare compomise first without even looking into my case, although I was 100% on the right side(the tenant not paying and stay on). So need to think about all these effort and money upfront cost. I select my tenant very carefully and do the check myself. Bad tenant is headache. The reference is a bit a joke, one of agency came for a bad tenant for reference, I warned them not to take them, but the tenant still get the property. I think it is the agency wanting their fee and ignored my warning to the landlord. The other one moved away and successfully got agreement without anyone comes to check their current tenancy with me for reference at all.

To be on the safe side( if the tenants put in a defence ) collect as much evidence as you can.( reciptes for the work needed photos etc.) You may need to prove to a judge evedence what you are making your claim for. (If the tenants put in a defence ) I agree the easiest way is through mcol, but you should write to your old tenants first a few times, this is something you are supposed to do before making a claim and it will look better if you can show a judge that you have tried to get the costs back for the damage.
Mention to the tenants that if they don’t pay you will take them to Court at which point further costs will be added.
The NRLA are worth joining they will give you lots of free advice once you have paid the yearly joining fee