How do you chase and is it worth chasing for rent arrears checklist

Checklist provided by


The first job is to calculate what the tenant actually owes you:

  • In rent arrears – have a clear rent statement or schedule, to minimise dispute

  • For damage caused to the property – inventory and photographic or video evidence

  • For items included on the inventory but not in the property they have left.

If the tenant is in arrears over the last few months, double check they haven’t missed other payments since the start of their tenancy.
If the tenant is still in the property, find out whether the arrears are an oversight or the tenant needs some help with financial assistance, for example, you may be able to help them claim housing benefit.
  If the tenant isn’t responding to calls/letters, then serve them with a Section 8 or Section 21 Notice – speak to a legal expert to find out which will be more appropriate for yours/your tenant’s circumstances, for example: Geldards website advice leaflets:
  • S21 – accelerated possession

  • S8 – Possession and money claim

  Think about assets the tenant may have that you can seize such as a motor vehicle, computer equipment or other items in lieu of cash.
  If the tenant has left, make sure you have an address for them so you can apply to the court for arrears.
  If the tenant has moved out, don’t forget you can’t just throw their stuff away, you have to keep it for six months but under new rules you can now recover the property once they haven’t been back for four weeks.
Find out as much as you can about the tenant as you can such as:
  • Identity provided (driving licence, passport

  • Date of birth

  • Next of kin details

  • Place of work

  • Find out if they are on social media such as Facebook, Twitter.

Speak to work or other references to see if they know where the tenant is living.
Find out if they are in arrears for any other payments, such as utility bills.
If you have to go to court, make sure you are fully prepared, especially if you are taking the tenant to court yourself. You/your legal company will need:
  • Copy of the ASTA

  • Evidence of registered deposit

  • Copies of any notices, proof of service of any notices

  • Proof of ownership of the property

  • Evidence of any arrears.

Try and secure one of the following if you go to court:
  • Attachment of earnings order

  • Warrant of control where Bailiff will collect monies or levy on goods

  • Third Party Debt Order – application made to freeze the tenants bank account.

If you haven’t time to investigate the tenant and guarantor, then contact a tracing agent or legal company to do this for you such as Geldards who offer no trace no fee.
To find a good tracing and recovery make sure they:
  • Specialise in this area and have a department who deals with cases on a day to day basis

  • What percentage of their cases are successful?

  • Ask if they don’t find the tenant or secure any money, will they still charge and if so how much?

  • Are they able to just find the tenant or do everything, include taking the tenant to court for you?

  • What is the minimum and maximum the whole procedure would cost?

Remember, even if you can’t recover rent arrears, it is possible to place a CCJ on the tenant so they can’t cause problems for other landlords and companies.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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