Small court claim

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    Small court claim

    Hello all,
    I am currently in dispute with my letting agent. They have sent me a Letter Before Action (LBA) for a frivolous claim for unpaid commission for finding a tenant - neither party signed the agreement. I have taken the agent to TPOS for various issues (having exhausted agent’s internal process) and they have progressed to full review. Looks like the LBA was sent in retribution; there are law firms send it for £3.
    I’d appreciate your advice:
    1. The hard copy (I also got an email) was sent to my vacant rental property; I advised the agent of my current address during the complaint and it is overseas. Should I ask the agent to mail it to my address overseas. Pre-action protocol for debt claims says the letters have to sent by post.
    2. The amount on the invoice is wrong (they calculated based on a rate different from what was agreed as letting and management fees- never mind the fact they neither let nor managed my property). Of course I am going to dispute but when the realize that they have got the amount wrong, do they have to start the process all over again I.e. resending the invoice and then another LBA? When they initially sent the invoice I told them “no fee is payable notwithstanding the fact that invoice itself is incorrect.”
    I would greatly appreciate the wisdom
    thanks
    R

    #2
    1 - If you are being sued in a UK court, they would use your UK address for service. Deemed service means that you have received it two business days after it was served.

    2 - The amount can be amended/corrected later in the process.
    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


      #3
      Thanks JPK, since I didn’t receive a hard copy, could I send my response by email? Thanks

      Comment


        #4
        I assume you had a contract with the agent to find you a tenant. What does it say if anything about service of notice etc.? Are you within or outside the EU?
        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


          #5
          I’m outside the EU.
          There was no notice period; it says the contract ends immediately if the notice served before they found a tenant. They did find someone who put a holding deposit down but during the course of negotiations, it became apparent that the tenant was not being transparent; he was asking multiple questions and multiple viewings so I pulled the plug (around 12 days after the deposit was paid). Neither party signed the agreement.
          There were several breaches of the contract and failings of service (which is with TPOS now) anyway so I’m not worried about the court finding against me but one would never know.
          I have reported the agent to the Trading Standards for breaching multiple laws.
          Regards
          R

          Comment


            #6
            I meant what does the contract you have with the agent say how they may serve notice on you in relation to the contract? Email, letter, phone call, carrier pigeon, magic owl...?
            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


              #7
              It doesn’t say anything specific at all

              Comment


                #8
                Verbal Contract is quite legal, but most LA's require you to agree to theirTerms of Business.
                If it goes to Court, you will have to return to UK, employ a Solicitor to plead your case or lose by default.

                Comment


                  #9
                  The issue will be how the contract defines "finding a tenant" and what happens thereafter.
                  The agent either found one or they didn't.

                  You must have really hacked them off for them to be so vindictive - if you live outside the UK, their chances of winning are high but their chances of actually getting any money are close to zero, unless you need credit in the UK or have a job where any kind of judgement against you anywhere in the world would be an issue.
                  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


                    #10
                    I must have hacked them off? Yeah, right - my complaint to the Property Ombudsman did it for them. Regardless, they are the type of LA’s who will sell their grandmother for something.
                    KTC- you maybe right about turning up to the UK but but they have to make it clear to the courts that I live abroad so that it is allocated to the correct track and one can agree with the court in advance to have the case heard on paper by providing adequate reasons. Of course, I’ll be disadvantaged by not being there but I wonder if I convince the court to throw it out because they haven’t followed the pre-action protocol including not resolving the issue through ADR.
                    Thanks

                    Comment


                      #11
                      JPK- I wouldn’t want to lose my credit rating which is stellar right now (999) for this, I’m planning to return. Regardless, they can obtain a charge order against my property.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Instruct a solicitor, when the agency get a proper solicitor responding the their letter, they might just back off.
                        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


                          #13
                          Non full compliance with the pre-action protocol is only really only going to affect cost. You can certainly point out that they're not contacting you at the address they should. At this stage, it's really just talk to see if you'll agree. Since they say you owe them money, and you deny it completely, there's not a lot you can discuss towards a settlement.

                          If and when they actually sue you, they'll have to jump over the hurdle whether the court here have jurisdiction and service of the claim form to you. You can certainly then dispute jurisdiction and/or service, and also apply for striking off if the case bad enough, but you should probably take proper legal advice.
                          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


                            #14
                            - Update on this, the agent failed to send the company file to TPOS which was due today; this says as much about them as it does about them serving LBA to an incorrect address.

                            TPOS are still going to give them another week!

                            Now the question is if the agent still goes ahead and sue me, should I counter claim? I’d rather not as it’ll stop TPOS from looking into the matter.
                            In reply to their LBA, I’m asking a full detail of my Client account including all monies in and out which they have refusing to provide thus far- can they refuse this being my appointed agent?

                            Comment

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