Let to landlord's daughter + friends; one is in arrears

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  • Let to landlord's daughter + friends; one is in arrears

    In 2004 my daughter was at Sussex University. During this time my wife and I decided to purchase a house for her and three friends to live in while she completed her studies. The completion of purchase on the house being in June 2004 and was then ready for rent, fully furnished.

    Formal Assured Short-hold Tenancy Agreements were made and the three friends were required to pay £270 each per month, plus an advance deposit of £270 each. The three friends moved into the property on 1st July 2004 and they also signed an inventory for the furniture.

    From July to August 2004 I had some improvements to the property carried out and my daughter moved in during September 2004. Late in August 2004, one of the friends decided not to return to university and asked if it was permissible to stay as a tenant. I said that provided the rent was paid I had no objection. I also reminded him that there would be an obligation under the tenancy agreement to pay for the council tax, as he was no longer a student and exempt from this.

    In May 2005 this friend decided that he couldn't or wouldn't pay the council tax any longer. I did not acquiesce to this and always made it clear that if we were to pay the remainder, it would be in the form of a loan. My wife then asked the council to send the bill to her, stating that she would take the matter up with the tenant. The tax bill was £118 and he was informed that the matter was defered and the money would be deducted from his deposit when he finally left.

    In July 2005, he made a proposal to remove the double divan bed from one of the bedrooms and replace it with his own. Because this did not meet with fire regulations we turned down this request with a formal letter handed to him. He ignored this and removed the bed, storing it in unsuitable conditions.

    In the final year of his tenancy he repeatedly, month after month, fell behind with his rent mostly 10 to 14 days late in payment. He disappeared in June last year owing £56 for gas/electric. He also left a large amount of rubbish and some personal belongings, which I had to pay for the removal of.

    Some weeks later I received an email via a third party where he asked for his deposit back, which was to be sent to his parent’s home. I know that he still lives and works in Brighton but not where, so I wrote to him in September 2007, at his parents house explaining that he wouldn't be getting his full deposit back because of the outstanding £118 for the council tax, £56 for the gas/electric bill and a charge for the removal of rubbish plus the removal of personal belongings. I also explained that the bed which he removed was ruined.

    I never received a reply from my letter to him of September 2007 and I therefore considered the matter closed. But I was recently surprised in receiving a summons from the small claims court for the return of the full deposit plus costs. In consideration to this, I did not receive a letter before action.

    What chances have I got in court, we've already used the court mediation service and this has failed.

  • #2
    I'm not a legal eagle like some of the chappies here, but in researching my options for my own troubles I found this at citizens advice..

    Before applying to the court

    You must try and settle a claim before taking court action. If you do not try to settle first, the court may penalise you. So, for example, if a television does not work, there is no point in applying to the court immediately for compensation - you must contact the shop which sold it first to try to solve the problem, and only use the court if you cannot get the problem solved by negotiation. The court will expect you to make your claim in writing, giving the other person a reasonable time to reply – a month is usual. You should also warn them that you will take court action if they fail to reply within the given time.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm sure the court won't like the lack of a LBA; I wouldn't draw attention to that until you get to court, in case he somehow tries to fake having sent one (or has time to work out how best to instills doubt over whether it was sent/received).

      Sounds like you're on pretty firm ground to me, if you have paperwork to back everything up. Have you paid anything back to him, or kept the whole deposit? Are all the charges you've made against it clear, itemised, real etc?

      Best thing is to put yourself in the claimant's shoes, and consider how he might put his case - up to and including lying through his teeth - and work out how you can pre-empt that with whatever evidence you can provide to the court.

      Comment


      • #4
        What is the date of the last AST that he signed? Basically, I want to check whether you issued it before the Tenancy Deposit Scheme rules came in to determine whether you should have protected it?

        Also, are you aware of your obligations to store tenants belongings and did you fully follow the following requirements under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977

        http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/uncollected_goods.htm

        Also, I take it that the contract he signed clearly made payment of the council tax and bills his responsibility?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
          I'm sure the court won't like the lack of a LBA; I wouldn't draw attention to that until you get to court, in case he somehow tries to fake having sent one (or has time to work out how best to instills doubt over whether it was sent/received).

          Sounds like you're on pretty firm ground to me, if you have paperwork to back everything up. Have you paid anything back to him, or kept the whole deposit? Are all the charges you've made against it clear, itemised, real etc?

          Best thing is to put yourself in the claimant's shoes, and consider how he might put his case - up to and including lying through his teeth - and work out how you can pre-empt that with whatever evidence you can provide to the court.
          Yes I have all the paperwork, the AST's, bills, signed contents list. I have kept the whole of the deposit as the bills and damage add up to more than this. Can't think what lies he will tell

          Originally posted by Beeber View Post
          What is the date of the last AST that he signed? Basically, I want to check whether you issued it before the Tenancy Deposit Scheme rules came in to determine whether you should have protected it?

          Also, are you aware of your obligations to store tenants belongings and did you fully follow the following requirements under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977

          http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/uncollected_goods.htm

          Also, I take it that the contract he signed clearly made payment of the council tax and bills his responsibility?
          The date of the last AST is 11/12/2006 and the first is dated 13/06/2004 which is when he paid the deposit.

          The AST is exactly the same as used by the Residential Landlords Association and does include statements about his responsibility for ALL bills including Council Tax.

          I still have all his personal belongings.

          Comment


          • #6
            Went to the court today.

            The Judge found in my favour, the tenant lost his claim!

            Comment


            • #7
              Thats a good ending then.

              Comment

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