Landlord Legal Fee Costs

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    Landlord Legal Fee Costs

    Hi,

    I was wondering if I can get some advice on this issue? Because of Universal Credit, my mother got into arrears with her landlord. Long story short, through my grant money that I got from University, we informed the landlord, which is a Housing Association, that we would pay the arrears off completely at a certain near the end of the month, which they accepted. However, a couple of days, later, we were given court summons for rent that was due, and despite various communications and assurances, the goal posts keep getting changed with the end of each phone call conversation.

    My grant has arrived, the arrears are cleared, and the person of contact at the Housing Association, said to my mother, that she need not attend the court hearing, however, the Housing Association are going to bill us the legal fees for the court hearing, which they're going to do, via making us pay for it through our rent, meaning we back in arrears again.

    My question, is, can they do this? Every reasonable step that we have made, has been responded by an unreasonable action on the part of our Landlord. Had they honoured what was said, the owed rent would have arrived, and no court hearing would have been necessary, but as it was, the Landlord decided to take us to court before the said date of when we told them to expect the owed rent, and they're now, unfairly, going to penalise us with a bill that cannot pay now, and, knowing their behavior pattern, may even take us to court again. If this happens, do we just keep paying court fees?




    #2
    I'm surprised that a housing association would go after someone just for UC delays.

    I'm not sure it was a good idea to use a university grant in this way.

    Once they apply to the court, I assume they do incur costs, so the question would be was it reasonable to apply to the court, and she have time to make an arrangement before that happened.

    Comment


      #3
      I would try contacting CAB or Shelter for advice.

      Comment


        #4
        The housing association clearly didn't accept that you would pay later in the month.
        Otherwise, they wouldn't have taken legal action.

        I think the Housing Association are taking the mickey here.
        If your mother had attended the court hearing and been able to show that the association were too hasty in taking her to court and had done so against an offer to pay, the court would possibly have awarded the costs differently.
        By advising her that there was no need to attend, they've essentially made sure that wasn't possible.

        However, the housing association are able to recover legal costs that arose from non-payment of rent (I appreciate it's not your mother's fault).
        If they don't collect it via the rent, there would simply be a separate debt they could take her to court for.

        ​​
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          The court case hasn't occurred, its due to happen next week, but the individual in question who we speak to, on behalf of the Housing Association, has stated we don't need to attend (we're still going to attend), but stated that the legal costs incurred, will be given to us.

          I'm prepared to argue against this on several grounds:

          1. We've communicated with the Housing Association, expressing how and when payment will be expected, which they agreed to, verbally. They then decided to take legal proceedings long before the due date of when we agreed to make payment.

          2. The arrears, on which we're going to court for, has been paid already, so when we attend court, there is no debt to be paid.

          3. The arrears that were incurred, was around £400. We've never been in arrears with our landlord, being their tenant for 15 years, but because of Universal Credit, its caused headaches.

          4. Although the person never responded, we sent an email to her work email address, with a document that I have from student finance, stating when I'm getting my grant money, providing proof that I'm due to earn money that can cover the arrears.

          As mentioned above, I don't feel we should be paying for our Landlord's legal fees, on the basis that they have no claim for making a complaint about us in court, because we owe them no money, and because of our long good history as tenants, there's no established precedent to indicate we're bad tenants. They were going to get paid, nothing indicates they were never going to get paid, and the court summons was an unnecessary attempt at bullying us.

          Comment


            #6
            If it's an actual court case, you have to understand that you have no standing and can't address the court without the judges permission.
            You van obviously accompany your mother and can talk to her.

            If you are concerned about presenting your arguments, write them down (like you have above) and take three copies.

            1. Is your best argument.

            You're only concerned about the legal costs, and I would lay out the timeline in three or four paragraphs and directly ask the court to award the costs against the housing association.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              Attend court with mum.

              Surprised HA are doing this but we should not forget if only 1p us underpaid only 1day a landlord can issue valid notice and then proceed to court if still unpaid.

              If tenant does not put in defence and/or turn up there is the possibility of landlord getting possession order. So, mum turn up!

              Good luck.
              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Robert_Ajax View Post
                However, a couple of days, later, we were given court summons for rent that was due
                The court application had probably been made before you had your conversation and promised to pay.

                Comment


                  #9
                  What is the court claim actually for? A money claim for unpaid rent, or a possession claim on the basis of rent arrears / not paying rent on time?

                  If we're talking about a money claim, I would suggest that the claimant may well had failed to follow the pre action protocol and incurred unreasonable cost as a result.

                  Check with the court if the hearing is still listed to take place. If it is, definitely attend it. I don't imagine the court would be particularly impressed with the claimant telling the defendant not to attend a hearing....
                  I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                  I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    If mum does does not attend hearing & provide a viable defense, she would lose by default and be liable for winner's defense costs.

                    Comment

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