Preaction protocol for rent arrears

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    Preaction protocol for rent arrears

    I have read that I am obliged by the Court to follow the preaction protocol before issuing proceedings. The document seems a load of old tosh.

    I need to bring a MCOL against a tenant who ran off leaving £16,000 rent arrears.

    The tenant sent me an email saying that if I sued them for the rent arrears they would counterclaim saying they didn't owe the rent arrears because of disrepair at the property. They have sent me an email asking me to answer the disrepair but I refuse to.

    As part of the preaction protocol, it says that we must engage and try to avoid the matter ending in court proceedings.

    Given that I don't wish to discuss the disrepair, how can I get round it without the Court knowing and sue the tenant?

    After the tenant left the property, there were over £20,000 worth of repairs needed to the roof the floor the walls the conservatory and a very bad case of damp and mould so this highlights why I need the £16k back from the tenant ASAP without going into details about low level and insignificant disrepari

    #2
    £16k arrears and this is the first legal action. No s8?

    I'm entitled to sue Boris for being an incompetent PM with a world-beating death rate for countries with more than 20 million population. He's entitled to sue over disrepair. Doubt either of us would win
    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


      #3
      Have you already written to the tenant about this and given him time to pay up or make arrangements to pay?

      I don't think the pre action protocol applied to private landlords yet, but the gov intends to make it apply in the future. Somebody else can confirm this, I hope. https://landlordadvice.co.uk/extendi...tion-protocol/

      There isn't a section for landlords in the list of situations.

      Has the tenant informed you of any disrepair?
      Has the tenant contacted any authority such as the council about the disrepair?
      I think the court will expect you to address the disrepair issue and either agree or refute it.

      Comment


        #4
        If you sue the tenant, they're pretty much going to have to counterclaim.
        Rent is such an easy debt to prove, it's either owed or it's not, so a counterclaim is pretty much the only "defence" possible.

        So you're going to have to discuss the disrepair at some point, even if it's in court.
        Not being prepared to even discuss it won't help your case.
        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
          Thank you.

          What I am asking is:- is there a way that I can totally avoid answering the disrepair?

          I dont want to answer the disrepair either now (in pre-action protocol) or at Court. I just want the rent.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by GivemylovetoJudy View Post
            What I am asking is:- is there a way that I can totally avoid answering the disrepair?
            No.

            The tenant is entitled to counterclaim and you can't stop them (other than by not making the claim yourself).
            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
              The problem is that the ex-tenant has gone ahead and forwarded an email she sent to me, asking me to fix the roof leak, to the Council and to the local County Court. I haven't even submitted the paperwork yet, haven't even started the legal claim.

              I don't want the ex-tenant to have a chance to argue the roof leak is disrepair and should be set-off or off-set against the arrears.

              The roof leak wasn't my fault as I don't live in UK and could do nothing from afar.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by GivemylovetoJudy View Post
                The roof leak wasn't my fault as I don't live in UK and could do nothing from afar.
                I don't have any view about who's "fault" the roof leak was, but repairing it in a reasonable time frame was your responsibility.
                Your not living in the UK doesn't change that.

                A roof leak isn't necessarily disrepair in itself, but failing to address it might be.

                I'm not sure what the council or county court are meant to do with the email they've been sent.
                The council won't care if she's no longer a tenant and the court can't do anything, full stop.
                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


                  #9
                  The roof leak might not have been your fault but you are obliged to repair it and not living in the UK is no excuse. You could have found a roofer on the internet and arranged things. I got a roofer out within a week about a month ago.

                  How long ago did the tenant report the leak? What was the damage to the property?

                  If the tenant is claiming compensation he would need to show that he has something worthy of compensation - such things might be a decline in health, clothes etc spoilt by mould caused by the damp. You could ask for proof of this. The judge will decide.

                  You will get copies of the tenant's counterclaim so you should wait and see what that is.

                  Have you fixed the roof?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi, the timeline for this is as follows:

                    16 August 2019 - tenant reported roof leak]
                    12 September 2019 - tenant reported plumber had said bath was in danger of collapsing into the ground, plumber lied and said it was because of a 6-year bath leak dating back to 2014
                    24 September 2019 - tenant stopped paying rent for the first time in 11 years stating the housing was in disrepair
                    1 December 2019 - tenant reported another roof leak
                    30 June 2020 - roof leak fixed, but tenant had moved out and had not paid a penny

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Living aboard does not absolve you from maintaining the property
                      What date was the 1st roof leak fixed and have you written evidence of this? Tenant likewise will have to submit evidence from the plumber on 6 year bath leak.
                      You should have taken action way earlier. Perhaps you deserve each other?



                      Freedom at the point of zero............

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I don't understand why living abroad means that you do not have to maintain the house ?

                        If there is a roof leak you will have to fix it regardless, I would fix this ASAP to prevent any damage from escalating.

                        Join the NRLA they have an advice line , it's very helpful and they are experts https://www.nrla.org.uk/

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Tenant is entitled to sue for disrepair even if you don't take any legal action.
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by GivemylovetoJudy View Post
                            Hi, the timeline for this is as follows:

                            16 August 2019 - tenant reported roof leak...

                            30 June 2020 - roof leak fixed, but tenant had moved out and had not paid a penny
                            I think I can see the tenant's point.
                            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


                              #15
                              That's a very long time for a tenant to wait for repairs. How bad was the leak and what effect did it have on the tenant, if any? Did the tenant report it to the council at any point before they left?

                              The leak could have been like the one my tenant didn't tell me about that went from the bedroom right down to the floor in the living below, or it might just be a tiny discolouration on the bedroom ceiling.

                              Comment

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