Rental arrears after tenant has left the house in mess

We had these tenants in the property for around 2 years and their deposit was protected with DPS. They were a couple and children. They never informed us before or at the start of tenancy that they would pay half of the rent each individually and not monthly rent together. They both were defaulters in paying their portion of the rents and even their individual rents were split and paid in few little instalments. There were times when they owed more than months of rent. I wanted to issue section 21 and a notice to vacate but they used to plead saying he is church-goer and pleading not to do as he had young children. We tolerated their behaviour way too long they we should have.
Finally, they agreed to leave the property and he promised that he will pay us the rent arrears after he leave the property. We didn’t even do any accounts as they were lots of arrears and it was impossible to have any civilised conversation with them. He did pay us little money after leaving the property but then he started threatening us that he has overpaid us and to return the deposit. We thought DPS will handle this and requested to DPS to have a look and decide. We sent all the rental statements and photos of the mess they left the house to DPS. DPS have now informed us that since its over 3 months, they won’t look into it. There are still around £4000 of arrears and they want me to return the deposit and threatening us that they have overpaid the rent.
Damage to the property -
All beds, mattresses, sofa, fridge everything was broken and all had to be replaced. Even wardrobes were broken from the rooms. All this broken furniture was kept in the garage that I got collected by bulky waste collection recently and it incurred me an additional £100 charges that I have receipt.
The house was left in complete state that I had to renovate the whole house and had to get all the furniture replaced in the property. I gave the inventory report to them when they moved in the property. I don’t have signed inventory report but I have a soft copy of the inventory. I still have the url with the pics of the property where they saw the house and rented the property.
I didn’t send them any invoices for the furniture that I had to replace. As it costed me more than thousands of pounds and I didn’t want an unamicable solution. I ignored the missing rent and asked him to settle the invoice for the cleaning and was going to release the deposit. In reply to this invoice, he started sending text messages that he has overpaid £500 rent.
I tried to arrange at least 4-5 meetings that I will take bank statements and he gets his bank statement and if we can settle if there’s any missing or overpaid rent. He has never met us and avoid it. I have chased him numerous times to meetup and show him the arrears but he is avoiding and claiming that they have overpaid. What do I do? I am little concerned what to do if I get a solicitor’s letter or something? Should I go and meetup a solicitor and send them a letter? I see no chance of getting these arrears from them and don’t see much point in going to court myself. If I decide to go to court, can someone guide me, what do I have to do? Many thanks

Sorry to say, but I think you need to be a little more organised in your administration. You should be able at any point to send a rent account statement to either the tenant or the deposit scheme. You should also understand how the deposit schemes work and the need to have a detailed check-in inventory signed by the tenant, preferably with supporting photos. Photographs of the property at the end are useless unless there is something to compare them with. Why did you not claim the deposit as soon as they moved out?

If they owe you £4000 in rent and you can evidence this with DPS then may award it to you but having left it 3 months won’t count in your favour. If you want the rest of the costs you would have to sue the tenants in court but with out good evidence and certainty that the tenants have the money to settle the claim, you would be wasting your time.

1 Like

Although tedious you need to use your bank statements to prepare a rent account statement which would be useful and required if you do go to court. Send it to the tenant too as they can then use it to check against their bank statements. Easier than you sitting there for hours on end with him leafing through reams of paperwork.

Even if they didn’t sign it, if you have a dated inventory before they moved in and photos of all the damage etc it is still evidence.
I know there’s a money claim online (which I believe has a word count limit) or you can ask for a paper claim form if you need to write more. Never used it so maybe someone else can comment.

Many thanks for all the guidance and advise. I am going to make a rent statement and send it to the tenant. Thanks again.