1- What can I do if the tenant does not pay the rent?
If the tenant does not pay the rent, it is advisable that you always try to engage in dialogue first, but if they do not respond, please inform us as soon as possible by making a claim on our platform.
Remember to do this between the 2nd and 3rd non-payments, so that after we review the claim and confirm there is a non-payment, we can start paying you the unpaid rent. If you do so after the 3rd non-payment, it will not be possible for us to pay you back the total amount of the rent arrears. We recommend that you pay special attention to this.
2- Is there a deadline for the property owner to make a claim?
Yes, there is a deadline for the property owner to submit a claim and it is very important that you are aware of this if you want to make the most of your rent default insurance. The property owner must submit the claim after two non-payments of the rent and never after the third non-payment. This means that the client must submit the claim between the second non-payment and the third non-payment. If they fail to do so and submit the claim later than that, they will be compensated for the latest of the two unpaid months only and for future unpaid rents.
Here is a practical example:
Let's imagine that the tenant is due to pay the rent to the property owner on or before the 7th each month, and that the lease agreement between them comes into effect on 01/03/2021.
Let’s also suppose that the tenant is late to make the payments every time: they make a payment after 07/03/2021, then another after 07/04/2021, and then again after 07/05/2021. At this point, the property owner decides to submit a claim.
What happens? There have already been three non-payments.
The insurance company will then only cover the last two months, April and May, which means that the missing payment corresponding to March will not be covered because it falls outside the period of coverage. To collect the full amount, the owner should have submitted the claim between 07/04/2021 and 07/05/2021, which is the period between the 2nd and the 3rd non-payments of the rent.
3- If the tenant stops paying but still lives in the property and the electricity bill is in my name, can I cancel the electricity bill?
No, you cannot cancel the electricity bill even if your tenant does not pay the rent.
We know that this can be really uncomfortable and unfair, but if you do so, you can be prosecuted for coercion. The first thing you will need to do is to inform us of your case by making a claim on our platform (make sure you do this between the second and third non-payment and not afterwards). Then the manager assigned to your case will guide you on what steps to follow that are in your best interest as the owner.
4- Whether it is before or after the property owner submits the claim and the legal proceedings begin, if the tenant stops paying and seems to have left the property, can I get in and change the lock?
No, you cannot get in the property and change the lock, even if your tenant stops paying the rent.
Contact your insurer's case manager or your lawyer and ask for guidance. You should not enter the property because you are not legally entitled to do so yet. It is also necessary for the court members to be the first to enter the property in case of damage caused by the tenant, so they can notify them.
5- After submitting a claim, what are the possible scenarios we can face as owners?
After a claim has been submitted under the rent default insurance and a lawyer has been assigned to your case, your tenant will be contacted. Once this happens, we can face four possible scenarios:
1. The tenant pays the rent
2. The tenant refuses to pay the rent
3. The tenant does not answer the property owner or does not appear in court
4. The tenant gives the keys back and does not pay the rent
1- The tenant pays the rent
The lease agreement continues:
The lease will remain in effect if there is a first legal proceeding, and the tenant pays in court (which is known as enervation of the eviction: the eviction is stopped completely due to full payment of the debt). The situation would be different if the tenant were to settle the debt with the property owner out of court.
The lease agreement is terminated:
The agreement is terminated, and the tenant must leave the property.
2- The tenant refuses to pay the rent
A judgement is made in favour of the property owner:
The tenant will be ordered to pay and will be forced to leave the property.
A judgement is made unfavourable to the property owner:
The tenant will stay in the premises and the rent will not be paid. The client will have to return the rent money paid in advance.
3- The tenant does not answer the property owner or does not appear in court
If the tenant does not answer the property owner's communications or if the tenant does not appear in court to address the situation, the judge will terminate the proceedings by ordering the tenant to pay and forcing them to leave the property.
This is usually the most common situation.
4- The tenant gives the keys back and does not pay the rent
The lawyer will request that the court proceedings continue so that the amount owed can be determined and a judgement can be delivered that will allow the property owner to recover legal possession of the property. Once the judge has issued a ruling, if the tenant does not voluntarily pay the amount they have been ordered to pay, an enforcement action can be filed to request the seizure of their assets.
6- What is the enervation of eviction?
The enervation of the eviction is the possibility for the tenant to stop the eviction process by paying the money owed to the property owner and, thus, prevent the lease agreement from being terminated. The enervation can only be carried out if it is the first time the tenant exercises it and if the property owner has not strongly requested the payment at least thirty days before the filing of the lawsuit.
7- What documentation do I need to inform that the tenant has stopped paying rent?
The documentation you need to inform that your tenant has stopped paying the monthly rent is:
Copy of the lease agreement signed by both parties and copy of the property owner's ID
List of unpaid monthly rents (amounts owed)
List of other concepts that the tenant owes and could be claimed in court (IBI [yearly property tax], community expenses, etc.) although it is not the insurer’s responsibility to pay them
Telephone number where we can contact the property owner directly
If known, tenant’s contact details (telephone number and email)
8- What exactly does an eviction trial consist of?
The ‘lawsuit for non-payment of rent and eviction’ is a procedure that aims to claim the payment of the rent due from the tenant and to repossess the property or premises. In this legal proceeding, the intervention of a lawyer and a solicitor is necessary. The lawyer will assist you in the legal process and the solicitor will represent you.
9- How do eviction proceedings work?
Eviction proceedings begins with the filing of the lawsuit in court. To do so:
The lawyer assigned to you will draft the claim that you will present to the court through your solicitor.
We will wait for the judge to admit the claim.
Once the proceeding is admitted, the court will notify the tenant of the claim. The tenant will have 10 working days to pay or refuse payment. At this point, we will already know the date of the hearing (trial) and the day on which the forced eviction from the property will take place (called ejectment). Occasionally, the court may change this date.
The tenant, once served with the complaint, will have several options:
If the tenant pays at this point and this is the first time a non-payment occurs, the lease agreement will remain in force. Otherwise, the agreement will be terminated and the tenant, even after settling the debt, will have to leave the property.
If the tenant objects and the judgement is in favour of the property owner, the tenant will be ordered to pay and will be forced to leave the property.
If the tenant does not answer or does not appear in court, the judge will terminate the proceedings by ordering the tenant to pay and forcing them to leave the property. This is the most common situation.
If the tenant gives the keys back, your lawyer will request that court proceedings continue in order to determine the amount of money owed and for a judgement to be passed that will allow the property owner to legally repossess the property. If the tenant has left the keys in your letterbox or you believe the tenant has abandoned the property, contact your case manager or your lawyer.
Once the judge has issued a decision, if the tenant does not voluntarily pay the amount they have been ordered to pay, it is possible to file a writ of execution to request that the tenant's assets be seized.
This would be the normal development of the process, but bear in mind that the procedure may be delayed because the tenant applies for the benefit of free legal representation or because social services need to intervene in cases where tenants are in a position of vulnerability, among other reasons.
Each case is different. Your case manager will always inform you about how your case is developing in a personalised way.
10- How long can legal proceedings take?
The duration of legal proceedings may vary depending on each process. At the beginning, the lawyer will file the claim with the court within a maximum period of one month from the date on which they have all the documentation required to initiate legal proceedings.
The court will then decide according to the following time frames (estimates):
From reporting the non-payment to filing the claim: 1 month
Claim filing process: from 1 to 2 months
Claim admitted for processing and trial: from 4 to 5 months
From trial to judgement resolution: from 1 to 2 months
From the judgement to the ejectment (last step of the process, through which the owner repossesses their property): from 1 to 2 months
Please note that the above time frames are estimates and depend largely on each court. Some courts are specially overcrowded and have substantially longer time frames.
11- What are the roles of the lawyer, the solicitor and the case manager in legal proceedings?
In legal proceedings, we will find three main figures:
The lawyer will assist you in the legal proceedings and is the person who can answer any legal or trial-related questions you may have.
The solicitor will represent you in the legal proceedings. You will only be in contact with this person in specific situations. The solicitor contacts the lawyer, who in turn contacts you.
Your case manager is the person who will pay for the expenses covered by your insurance contract and will coordinate with the different professionals involved along the process. Your case manager is your interlocutor and the person to whom you can ask for information about the insurance contract or the processing of your case.
12- The court has evicted the tenant, but when I go in the property, there is damage to it. What should I do?
If the court has evicted your tenant and you notice damage upon entering the property, contact your case manager or lawyer urgently and let them know.
After you do so, we will send an expert to the property to make a report, assess, and quantify the damage, so that you can claim for it in court later on and be entitled to receive the damage coverage stipulated in your contract.
13- If the tenant is declared insolvent through court action once the legal proceedings have initiated, would the property owner be obliged to return the money (corresponding to the rent) paid by the insurance company under the contracted coverage?
No, the property owner will not have to return the rents received by the insurer if the tenant becomes insolvent.