Tenant county court claim

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    Tenant county court claim

    Hello,

    I would really appreciate some advice before I contact a solicitor.

    In October my tenant reported that their was water coming in through a extractor fan via our agent. Who sent a contractor who recommended a damp report.

    I agree to this and it stated damp penatrated on one wall due to guttering and the rest was condensation damp. We had a positive pressure unit fitted already to help with ventilation and within 10 days had all the guttering fixed.

    the tenant continued to say there was significant mould caused my raising and penetrating damp on all walls (conflicting with damp report).

    She stopped paying rent for 2 months and moved out 4 month before contracted ended. We agreed to this if the rent was paid which she now has.

    we offered a professional mould clean, a dehumidifier and a to visit the flat to inspect the mould ourselves. This was all declined.

    2 days after she left we have now we have received a county court claim for £4300 for damages to clothes, shoes, a picture, fishing stuff, a ornament , cost of a dehumidifier and the electricity for running a dehumidifier they supposedly bought.

    She stated we ignored her and did nothing to improve the property. This isn’t true. If fact we regularly chased up our agent to ensure jobs were completed to protect her health! All in emails. Dates she wrote on the claim that the agent apparently told her we were ignoring them, we have emails sent on the same day asking for works to be completed!

    she left our property in a damaged state of repair, broke the t&c of contract by moving her husband in who has terrible credit, left her job (which coincided with her stop paying the rent) registered a business at the property without permission (against a terms of our mortgage) put holes in walls, ruined carpet, cracked floor tile. This being disputed and she’s not agreeing for any deductions from deposit.

    Im so stressed by this experience. We even initially lowered the rent for her to meet affordability and allowed for her to pay a bit upfront. We offered advice around ventilating the property and not leaves clothes on radiator as it’s a Semi-basement And we know it well, and she stated in the claim this was us blaming her for all the issues! Our devious tenant of two years followed this advice and had no problems. They have been in for only 8 months.

    the claim amount is ridiculous, she stated she couldn’t use the wardrobe built into the alcove because her entire wardrobe had to thrown away and all her clothes were in a heap on the floor but we have photographic evidence of her standing in front of said wardrobe over Christmas on social media with all the clothes still hanging up!!

    Other than arranging another damp inspection and contacting a solicitor does anyone have a similar experience? What are the odds of them winning? Help!

    Thank you

    #2
    You will need to defend your case with all correspond you have, I hope you have done an inventory report when the T left so that you can put this as part of your evidence.

    To help your solicitor, make sure you have all correspondence, actions in a chronological order to help the courts decide if there is a case, and see if you can counter sue them.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you, yes the agent organised a checkout inventory but because of issues we have had with them missing things on previous inventories we also inspected the property and found additional faults.

      Do tenants have a high success rate in seeking damages from landlords relating to condensation damp?

      Comment


        #4
        There's almost no reliable statistics about the success or failure of small claims cases (and you'd need a lot of detail to know whether any outcome was more or less likely anyway).
        One issue is that it isn't costly or difficult to make a money claim and it's tempting to offer some kind of compromise to make the issue go away.

        If there was a problem with the guttering, the tenant would have to show that the damage was due to the guttering and the problem was caused by your negligence.
        It's not enough that there was a problem and that it caused damage.

        I think you have a reasonable case and I would defend yourself and, if appropriate, make a counter claim for damage caused by the condensation damp (which is invariably caused by the tenant's lifestyle).

        I'd include the evidence about the wardrobe in your response.
        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
          One another point if anyone might know, the t contract ended on the 19th January and the check out was completed and keys returned. However, on the county court claim filed on the 20th January she has stated her address as our property where is no longer resides. Will this make a difference? Can we counterclaim if she hadn’t given a wrong address?

          thank you

          Comment


            #6
            You checked she wasn't back at the property 20th Jan or even today?? Keys can be copied....

            Inform court of wrong address. Ex-tenant is lkely wanti g to prevent you knowing where they live. Wait a month or so, social media will tell you a lot.
            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


              #7
              I would get the advice of a good solicitor , he will charge but he will be able to help
              I personally think you did all you could to prevent this and the fact that you have -

              'we offered a professional mould clean, a dehumidifier and a to visit the flat to inspect the mould ourselves. This was all declined.'

              your solicitor may well advise you on a counter claim which may /will cancel the supposed claim - eg tenant left it damaged state of repair ect (do you have all photos and proof of all negotiations between yourselves and your estate agents ?)

              I have been in a similar situation tenants are the pits and the reason why i have now sold , they tend to go to no win no fee solicitors.

              Ive also had a tenant complain of damp when it was their own fault for drying clothes inside, blocking up the vents and not opening windows , damp report came to the same conclusion.

              write everyting down as Ash says , all e mails and so on -

              Also social media is very helpful (we have currently been using it to find details of a local thief )






              Comment


                #8
                Hi, I'm a cheapskate and would do it myself.

                You do need to file counterclaim - did you receive the paperwork via email or post?
                Address doesn't matter - she could change but you do need to state that you use address as provided in the claim, however the person no longer lives in the address.
                And it is going to be long, and dreadful but do stand you ground - she may go to meditation and ask for monies to settle.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hope it goes well let us know how you get on

                  Comment


                    #10
                    alice123,

                    So you loat the case even though you had the damp report etc ?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      When you say you had an Agent, did they not do periodic inspections. I have a damp issue in a house I rent out and the agent has taken photographs of the ceiling. The agent has also advised the tenant to open the windows but when I drive past none of the windows are open.
                      The agent keeps a stock of de-humidifiers and took one round to the tenants and have offered £50 toward 2 months electricity.
                      One thing which is perhaps important You offered a de-humidifier and they refused. I think this seriously damages their case.
                      If the place is empty now you could get a surveyor round to write a report as to how dry the premises are. (even if you have to hire a de-humidifier for a week yourself)
                      I have only been to court a few times (won 6 lost 2) and it seemed to me that you may need an expert witness, perhaps the agent and a surveyor. A solicitor will advise you, with any luck you could win.
                      Dont delay in getting representation and replying to the court.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by blinko View Post
                        So you loat the case even though you had the damp report etc ?
                        my particular matter which was dealt with by a solicitor was not in relation to a damp problem - this was in relation to some other issues , at another property
                        I simply mentioned the damp as I had a damp report done on another property which came to that conclusion

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thank you everyone for your advice. I’ll let you know the outcome!

                          Comment

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