DP Act & tracing ex-tenants

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M
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I have a problem with a tenant who has left a property without leaving a forwarding address. Furthermore she has told the council that she moved out three months before actually doing so and this has resulted in the council claiming back 13 weeks LHA. This is a dreadful situation as the council originally paid the first two months LHA to the tenant which I have never been able to recover. The net result is that I have lost 5 months’ rent out of an 11 month period. The property was left in an appaling state and the tenant had refused to allow agents to enter throughout the term of the tenancy. REferences and a visit to the previous property did not indicate any problem.

The council say they cannot claim the ‘overpaid’ LHA from the tenant as she has moved to another authority's area. Can you advise please if this is correct.

The council are also refusing to provide the tenants new address and state they cannot do so due to the DP Act – which I guess is correct. I have started to obtain a letter of consent from tenants with the tenancy agreement that provides authority to the council to release the tenants contact address and (a different) council has advised that once the tenant has moved from the property they are not allowed to release the tenants new address, again for DP Act reasons. Can you advise please if this is correct.

If your response is affirmative, then can you comment please on my setting up a database that could be accessed by landlords or letting agents and which would contain some basic details of the tenant including whether there are arrears, damage to property etc. and updated address. This would obviously need co-operation from landlords and letting agents in the area and clearly a consent from the tenant. I have outlined this suggested provision (it would be a secure online database) to my agent in Burnley and have received an enthusiastic response.

Can you give me some guidance please?

07/01/2011 00:00

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