How to Trace My ex-Tenants or Debtors

Tracing Ex Tenants

Many tenants get evicted due to nonpayment of rent. It can sometimes be down to another breach of contracts such as overcrowding or anti-social behavior. So many landlords know that once the unsavory tenant is causing problems first problem is getting them out.

This would often be by eviction. Any veteran landlord could probably tell you that they have had at least one problem tenant and the first problem, and the first hurdle is getting them out!

Once they're out you can renovate, get new tenants in and start getting the bills paid once more.

Once the eviction process is underway and there are deadlines in place the tenant has several options which, inevitably, the landlord will have to deal with.

1, They won't leave and you will need to arrange for bailiffs to evict them physically

This is never a pretty sight but I'm glad to say is less common than people may think

2, They leave one day and don't tell anyone

This is defiantly the more common scenario

3, They ask you for a reference pay what's due and leave

Hmm, less than 50/50 odds on this version. They even ask for the reference as some sort of bargaining tool to get them out.

But once their out, you can focus on, renovating and getting paying tenants into the property.

But what if they have left owing rent or damage to the address? This is where you have two options. You can simply forget it, write it off and try and put it down to experience. Or you can try and find where they are now and get what's owed!

Tracing Debtors

You may have dealt with a company or person that has let you down in either repaying money that's owed, not completed works which you have paid for, or sold you other goods or services that you have not received.

But what if I cant be sure where to get hold of them?

You may be left with a home or business address they have recently left. You may have a business address that they are never at. Or you simply didn't have a full contact address to begin with. The phone calls/emails/texts messages simply are not getting the response you need.

Again, you are left with the same option. You can simply forget it, write it off and try and put it down to experience. Or you can try and find where they are now and get what's owed!

Tracing a debtor to a current place of contact or home address

So, if you are still here I take it that you are of the "don't let them get away with it" types. And why should you? The debtor genuinely owes you the money and is simply trying to evade payment then, why on earth would you let get away with it!

If you are trying to trace a Debtor or an Ex-tenant who has skipped off without paying rent or left

People Location Tracing Agents

Our Guide to tracing a debtor or ex-tenant

We have put this guide together which will give you some good ideas on how to go about tracing people who owe you money. You will need to know some current details about the person you want to find such as a full or partial name. If you're looking for some chap you saw on the bus yesterday, or that pretty blonde from the pub last week, think again, this probably won't help with that! You will need some basic name details and at least an idea of their age. If you are a landlord you should have details from the tenancy agreement and if the person is a debtor you should have some written details about them.

You may think of yourself as a bit of a closet detective and you may be thinking of tracing your debtor or tenant yourself. There are many pros and cons to undertaking your own research.

The main advantages to undertaking the trace yourself is costing, or so you may think! You may be thinking its much cheaper than hiring a professional. The fact is it may well be costlier, or it may save you a bundle. It really does depend on what you already know and what you need to find out. If you have plenty of information such as full names, birthdates, linked addresses. You may well be on to a winner. If you are lacking the details it could end up costing time and money to end up and a dead end.

Undertaking the trace yourself can be time-consuming and, if you are unsure about your results or specifics on the debtor or tenant you need to locate, you may end up spending money chasing the wrong person or, you contacting the wrong person altogether! If you don't reach the end goal it can be deflating, to say the least! Money, time and effort down the drain! You may end up having to start again or turn to a people tracing service or tracing agent take over. We have seen this plenty of times. Plenty of new clients say to us "I should do your job. I'm a sleuth with an eye for detail, look what I have found already!".

Data that has been supplied to us from DIY Debtor tracing has a wide range of accuracy. Most of the time it is accurate, and they do a great job to get the details they have. Sometimes we get cases who have put 2 and 2 together and ended up with 5! What I mean is, sometimes the lack of experience, the lack of resources and the lack of experience ends up with miss-matching details which can send them off in the wrong direction completely. When this does happen, it usually doesn't take us too long to see where the trace has gone wrong. And sometimes we have had cases that have left me completely stumped. "how did they make that assumption" sort of thing!

If you have good data and some time to do the searches you may well be able to take on the task. But if it's a tricky case and you don't have time you may well be better off using an expert to undertake the trace for you.

Some of the issues people face when tracing debtors are:-

Lack of current accurate data

Most of the time when debtor tracing people do have full name data. But, sometimes it can be a nickname or abbreviated name. Or if some time has elapsed and the person has undergone a name change for whatever reason getting the current name being used today is not an easy task. It can be costly on voters checks or 192 searches. If the name change is through marriage, then certificate searches can cost hundreds of pounds as you won't know if it's right person until you check the details on the certificate.

Lack of a DOB or exact age

Many online searches that are credit paid only give an age bracket, such as 45-60 or 25-30. And even if you do manage to locate the exact birthdate by ordering the certificate or checking paperwork matching that up to your debtor won't always be simple.

Lack of resources

Using online, credit paid searches to undergo many of the address sweeps but cross-checking them to ensure it's the right person and not simply someone who is about the same age with the same name is difficult. Or if the address is new or old. You may need to reach out to them directly one at a time to find out if it's the right person or not and if they owe you money odds are they won't reply at all. You also may end up with unhappy people contacting you saying its nothing to do with them.

Lack of expertise

As with all things in life when you don't have the training doing the task yourself can be somewhat of a minefield. At the People Location Tracing Agency, our team is fully trained with decades of on the job experience and the right tools at hand to do the job for you. What may take you weeks or months to do yourself may take a team member a few hours or days to complete. So you may want to keep this in mind.

Lack of budget

I know I know, you want to save money not lose it! That's why you're doing the debtor trace yourself. But keep in mind that online sweeps and searches can rank up the costs if you don't have the tools. You may need to pay for birth, death or marriage certificates, electoral roll searches, title deeds or use online credit paid searches that seem cheap at first until you need to spend more and more!

Right, that's enough of the doom and gloom about do it yourself people tracing, let's get down to business!

We have listed below the best methods to trace a debtor or Ex-tenant using basic tools that are available to everyone.

Know your data

Record everything you know. Write them down and keep them in a file or even better type them up on your PC, Mac or laptop. We wouldn't recommend using a small screen mobile as you will probably need to back and forth quite a bit. I suggest you create a debtor trace folder and keep everything in there.

Record all known names, if they have any nicknames or married names.

Record their date of birth? Do you know their age?

Record any old addresses or areas they lived in?

Record if they are married and who they are married to?

Record any children, especially children who are over 18 years old?

Record what line of business they were or are in?

Record any phone numbers or email addresses for them?

Record who they may know or any of their family details?

Anything else you think may be relevant, did they win a judo championship or play for the local football team? These are things that can help confirming you are on the right track later.

Internet searches Google, Bing

Now you now have your file set up you are ready to start searching. Pop the names into google and see what results are returned. Do any of the results mention any of the other relevant data you have?

Example, (JAMES SMITH, KUNG FOO CHAMPION 2009-2011.) This article may well be you person does it mention a place where he trained? Does it have a contact phone number?

Example, (JAMES SMITH PAINTING & DECORATING SWANSEA) Is this him? Does it mention phone numbers or tracing addresses?

I'm sure you get the idea. Cross check the results of the search with what you know.

You may also want to narrow down search results by being specific with some of the details

Example ("JAMES SMITH" "SWANSEA" "DECORATING") putting specifics in "speech marks" will let help google specify results for you.

Don't forget to variate the names


Social Media

Social media can be very effective. The Google searches may throw up social media and you may be able to ID them through their profile image.

Look for their family and friends if the debtor isn't showing up on social media. You may be able to find someone else they know on their so look for husband's wives or other family members. Look for their company details or associated family company details. You may find the debtor you are tracing on a friends list. If you de see a profile or connected profile scan through images and see if you can recognize any of the places the pictures were taken. It may be outside their house. With a little help from maps data, you could pin the address that way.

Don't forget to look under nicknames, alias names, and name variants.

Electoral roll

Checking the electoral roll is free via the local borough. If not, there are many online credit paid searches that offer electoral roll searches. Again, cross check your data, see who they live with and if the people connected to your person appear. Remember the electoral roll has two versions, the full version, which is only available to the government, and the edited version. That's the one you and I see. So just because a person is not on the electoral roll it doesn't mean they can't vote or they have left the UK. They may have opted out of the public version.

Companies House

It's worth checking. If you think the person has a ltd company or may have been involved with one its worth checking the register of directors. Company house filings do hold addresses for their appointees and it may well be a current home address. It may show an accountant or registered office. If you write to the address a letter may well be passed on if they have the ability to do so. But again if it's a debtor you may well end up with no response at all. But it can give your debtor a nudge to let them know you haven't forgotten about the debt.

Look for people they know

You may find it easier to trace a person they know and a letter to one of the associated addresses may well get a response from the debtor. It's a bold line to take but if you're low on options you probably have nothing to lose by simply sending out the letter. Family can sometimes be quite helpful in getting the debtor to deal with their obligations. So, if they have a brother or sister, mother or father, it may well be worth popping a letter to that address. Be sure not to address the latter to anyone but the debtor.

Happy Hunting. We know that if you reach that end goal it can give you a real feeling of achievement. You never know maybe you're in the wrong business! We wish you the very best of luck with your searches and we hope our pointers were helpful

If all this fails and you still want to get in touch it may well be worth calling one of our team here. We will be happy to help in any way we can.

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Tel: 020 8390 1703

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