In the same way, a landlord might appoint an estate agent to oversee their property portfolio and private tenants, our client was instructed to manage a Lancashire business park on behalf of its new freeholder. Landlords can and do sell properties with tenants in situ, and in some cases, this can reveal the previous incumbent’s shortcomings. This is exactly the situation the freeholder found themselves in and instructed our client to identify and fix issues affecting leaseholders and the wider site.
Typically the leaseholder will pay a mixture of ground rent and service charges. These fees are designed to cover the cost of ownership, general maintenance, ad-hoc repairs, and any services specifically born by the freeholder such as cleaning and communal lighting. Balancing the books to cover existing expenses and accruing funds for future anticipated costs is all part of the agent/landlord’s dance with the tenants.
Removing the Barriers to Payment
In this case, our client had managed to resolve the issues raised by other tenants at the business park without recourse to debt collection. However, there remained a debtor who was not as amenable to the solutions proposed and who continued to frustrate resolution, leading to the instruction of Advocate Debt Recovery. The debt now went back over 2 years and exceeded £8K despite a dossier of explanations and negotiations. Upon instruction, Advocate was greeted by the debtor with a barrage of allegations and counterclaims. This was the runaway train our client had experienced and was no longer willing to travel on. Bringing the case back to the core issues is paramount in such situations, and that is exactly what Advocate did. It became clear some barriers to payment had already been resolved only to be forgotten about; whilst other barriers needed communicating in a different way. Still, other barriers had no relevance to the subject matter and needed some perspective to be given. As Sigmund Freud so aptly said ‘sometimes a cigar is just a cigar’.
Once the barriers for payment were taken down, the client promptly received the full £8K of rent and service charges dating back over 2 years. That payment has teed up the client and the landlord to make the business park a better environment for tenants and their employees. The professionalism of Advocate has enabled the agent/landlord and tenant to resume their business relationship in the spirit of mutual co-operation. Advocate’s fees were also paid by the debtor; although it is worth noting the leaseholder agreement capped Late Payment Interest below the 8% above base rate that is normally applied. Most agreements will seek to extract the maximum interest allowed as a deterrent for late payment, but some business owners choose to accept less than they are entitled to.
How Long do you have to Recover a Debt
The simple answer is 6 years. That’s the time period set by The Limitation Act 1980. In almost all circumstances, a debt becomes statute-barred after 6 years. Once a debt becomes barred under statute, the creditor has run out of time to take legal action to recover payment of the debt.
It’s also worth considering that the older a debt becomes the more difficult it becomes to recover payment of the debt. So, please don’t wait 2 years, let alone 6 years!