To ask for my money back from friend?(83 Posts)
I'm asking for advice as I'm a bit stuck as to where to go from here.
My friend of a good number of years recently left her partner who was quite abusive and controlling, and a heavy class A drug user. She has a son with him and a daughter from a previous relationship. Following the split she was housed in emergency accommodation which was not a very nice environment for her or the children.
Myself and other friends were very supportive before and after the split, she and the kids stayed at our houses before she got the accommodation, we babysat, took them out for the day, and tried to help her keep some normality.
My parents have recently bought a house to let out to supplement their pension, and by good fortune it was available at the time that she needed a permanent home. Unfortunately she did not have the money for a deposit.
I lent her the money (just shy of £500), as I didn't want her to have to stay in the temp. accommodation with her children as they had been through so much already. I helped her move in and get settled, and my parents have been very forgiving in terms of giving her furniture items that she needed.
Since she moved in it has been virtual radio silence from her, she has not answered calls or messages from myself or friends and I have also found out that she was 2 weeks late on her first rent payment to mum and dad, which is causing them some stress - and probably regret that they seem to have an awkward tenant in when I had vouched for her character as a friend.
After cold-calling at her house and messaging her sister to ask if she was alright (said friend had managed to post status updates and profile pictures on facebook however, despite not replying to any of us) she eventually messaged me to see what was up.
I replied saying I was a little concerned about her lack of contact with me and asked if she had had any joy with the deposit.
Friend stated that the council have said they only pay in arrears and she should not have paid the deposit in the first place. She said she would try to get the money together for me 'one way or the other' but did not give any indication on time scales.
Since then I have messaged again and have had no reply.
I really am torn here, I'm quite upset about the £500 because it was a big chunk of my personal savings and now I'm not sure if i will ever see it again. I'm also worried that I have got my parents into a mess with a tenant that isn't reliable, and I can't 'call her out' on anything in case it jeopardizes Mum and Dad's house.
I'm also sad about the potential loss of a good friend...
And think it's quite likely that she has begun using drugs as this was happening in her last relationship.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Never mix business with friendship. You have learnt this lesson the hard way.
Your parents need to tackle the rent situation straightaway, and make clear they will evict her if she doesn't pay.
You need to be clear with her you want your money back. No being nice, just straight talk.
Hard message here but if she’s a drug user, that money is gone. Forget about it. Now you need to focus on how to extricate your parents from the mess you’ve put them in. I’m astonished that you’ve vouched for her character to them so you have a responsibility to help them get her evicted. She’s a user and loser. Get some advice and we’ve her notice ASAP.
I'm a housing benefit assessor, we don't pay deposits that have already been paid for. This is because we authorise them directly to landlords to prevent homelessness - she's not homeless anymore.
It's not untrue about the way housing benefit is paid - especially now with Universal Credit. So she could be telling the truth about the rent being late due to reasons beyond her control, she could also be embarrassed because of this hence why she's avoiding your calls.
I think, unfortunately, your kindness has ended up as a massive problem for your parents.
Have they let through an agency? What credit checks / references do they have?
Contact the council as she would defo be getting housing benefits and if your parents haven't had any rent then she has spent it herself. They can organise that they pay your parents directly and no monies will go to her.
Did you know beforehand that she was using drugs?
Is her claim still being processed? Or are you saying she has definitely received the rent money, and has spent it herself?
It doesn't sound as tho she is lying about the deposit, I'm afraid. It sucks, but you both should have checked with them first that they'd be fine to repay a loan to you before doing it. Obviously, that doesn't help now.
auspiciouspanda, Can I ask for a little clarification on the deposit scenario?
For example if she were still in the temporary accommodation and Dad was still waiting for a deposit before she moved in then the council would have paid it - is that correct? But now that it has been paid and she's in there is no onus for the council to provide it?
Do you parents have the house managed for them? If not, I'd suggest they get an agency to do this ASAP. They'll be on the ball chasing rent, and doing it the correct way which is important, they'll do home check visits 3 or 4 monthly to make sure she's keeping the property in an appropriate way. It won't sort the deposit money, but it may give your parents some peace of mind.
Surely as she was homeless and I'm temporary accommodation unable to afford a deposit, it would have been better to give her regular breaks from the place she was in, but stay out until she got far more secure social housing?!
You won't see your money back, so focus on your parents.
Go to them and say that you're sorry, you trusted a friend when actually friendship tells you nothing about how people will manage money - especially known drug users Warn them that the delay might be with her claim, but tell them that they shouldn't given any extra allowance because she's your friend, and should go down the eviction route exactly according to the fastest timetables.
It was the friend's ex who was the drug user not the friend.
Depends if the council or a local Charity run a deposit scheme. Sometimes It is a guarantee of payment rather than actual cash up front. Irrelevant now as she isn't party to that. HB is in arrears. Tbh it sounds as if she is taking advantage of your friendship and I fear will continue to do so. Has she signed an AST?
No, OP says her friend may also be using drugs.
I clearly didn't read properly. Sorry!
Housing benefit used to be paid direct to LLs.... anyway you can ask your friend if this is an option? Not sure she'd be too receptive though if she's pocketing it herself
I feel your pain OP but it wasn't the best idea lending £500 to someone who was homeless and is on benefits, and expecting it back. I'm not defending her not paying you back, but the reality is she prob just can't afford it.
If I were in your shoes I'd just write this one off I'm afraid.
Also I'm sure your parents understood the potential delays in rent payments when taking on a tenant on housing benefit, didn't they?
This is nott an unusual situation. We used to rent a house and a few times in the begining we fell for the story of a friend and let them in only to find , not only did they not pay rent , they wrecked the house. Definitely learn not to mix business and pleasure. A costly lesson.
But if she is getting rent for council surly she can at least pay that. The deposit is gone and probably the friendship with it.
It can take over a month to process housing benefit claims can't it? Is it not slightly unrealistic to take in someone on HB and expect the rent straight away?
Keep the messages or screenshot them. They show her understanding that it was a loan. I would ask if she will be paying you back in monthly installments or a lump sum. If she doesnt reply then start a claim with small claims court.
You dont know all the facts. as others said, the council/schemes probably wont pay the deposit now because its already been paid. You havent 'lost' it because your parents still have it.
Housing benefit takes forever to be paid, and yes, its paid in arrears. Its quite possible that she has managed to scrape the rent together to give to your parents from other sources, just so they had something. she may be really worried about it and hoping things would work out. If she is going onto universal credit that is typically leaving people 6 weeks with no money. she may need to ask for emergency loans but may not know about them.
welcome to the reality of benefits! she may not be on drugs, just desperately short of money, because now she has moved they may assess her from scratch again, and unless she has savings she has nothing to fall back on. this is why so many people are ending up on the streets
Also to add housing benefit is paid four weekly so she will effectively get 13 payments as opposed to 12.
(Not sure if it’s paid 4 weekly on universal credit if you’re in a universal credit area)
So sorry that your kindness has backfired on you. I suspect your friend is absolutely mortified at the situation and as others have said, probably short of money until her benefits kick in. Maybe give her the benefit of the doubt for now, but would suggest that your parents keep a close eye on their property to ensure that it is being properly cared for. Maybe your parents need to give her, say, another month, and if no monies are forthcoming then they would be completely reasonable to evict her. I hope it won't come to that for the sake of everyone involved.
Personally, whether OPs friend is back on drugs or not I'd consider the money gone forever.
Sounds like her life is in a proper mess and that - sorry - you failed to give her a hard deadline to pay you back by. You also loaned her the money on a really undefined basis as to what state you'd expect her life to be in to be in a position to pay you back.
It's shitty and it's a good deed that's backfired but i would say stand well back, do not pursue her and consider the money gone forever.
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