Verbal Agreements and debt recovery.

This morning I got a phone call from my best mate, he is up sh1t creek without a paddle. About three months ago he moved into a two bedroom flat (London). The bloke he was renting with had an oral agreement with the landlord (in the USA) and my mate. not wanting to be shafted pushed to get a tenancy agreement signed by every one (this is still in progress).
However, my bezza comes home form the pub to discover his flat mate has done a runner, only a pair of whiffy old trainers where left in his room.
Now "Bob"(Name changed to protect him) is left footing the rent and bills for the month and will be about £800 out of pocket.
Neither of them put down a deposit so do not have a safety blanket to fall back on.

Now, I know legally they are in the greyest of grey areas of law as very thing was done word of mouth but could "Bob" persue recovering lost funds through the small claims court?
I have advised Bob to get down to the CAB and get propper advise on where he stands.
However a nice day trip down to Sunny London to recover fund from the little bawbag might be fun.
if your mate hasn't signed an agreement I'd advise him to do a runner.

BEcause he will be left holding the bag.
In my experience, verbal agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on.

What taxi? I didn't call a taxi? Oh, I see.
Seems like he has a couple of choices to me, one is as Olympius suggested. However, as alternatives:

- As there is no tenancy agreement, isn't he technically squatting - if so, he could just tough it out but in the knowledge that he will probably be turfed out at some point. This still leave him with utility bills to pay though unless he really does want to squat!

- Perhaps as an alternative and depending on how much he likes the place, he could just write this off to experience, explain to the landlord, on the off-chance that he will be sympathetic about the rent, and get a new co-tenant asap to minimise the damage. There may be a bit of brinkmanship involved but he could ask the landlord if half the month's rent isn't better than none - as he's an ocean away, he might see this as "the least worst" option. Once again this means he still stand the hit of at least one month's utility bills

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