Advice for tenant and section 8 counter claim

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    Advice for tenant and section 8 counter claim

    I wondered if anyone can tell me if it is possible to counter claim for damage, harassment, poss landlord breach in contract and emotional distress in a section 8 eviction.
    so basically I’ve read online that i can claim for compensation which will go towards reducing my rent arrears but my solicitor who I had discussed this with has just left the company and my replacement solicitor won’t counter claim. She says I’ll have to take him to court separately…? She doesn’t know how though.
    The instance of harassment I received resulted in an episode of PTSD so I was severely effected. Electric contract in my AST was wrong and they refused to amend it instead issuing me with a section 21 after I asked to see a bill and followed with the instance of harassment in further efforts to make me leave the property. Along with that I had damp and a flood which whilst was eventually repaired made the environment we lived in unpleasant. At no point was I behind with rent until I had PTSD may I add. I have been a good tenant always paid my rent on time and looked after the property and have always been open to negotiation but this landlord is just awful.

    #2
    You are mixing up 2 aspects, 1. is a counter claim for your eviction, has this happened or are you still waiting to be evicted?

    The second is a civil lawsuit against your LL for the distress you have suffered, this needs to be verified, if it can't be or substantiated then the judge will throw the case out. Do you really want to go through more stress, I would suggest you pay any arrears (so that there is no CCJ against you and you find another place and move on).

    Comment


      #3
      'phone Shelter 0808 800 4444 for advice.
      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


        #4
        As 'ash72' states you may be angry at the perceived way in which the landlord has treated you but do not mix the two up, If you wish to take on more stress after you have been evicted and may still be looking for a place to live...... which with a CCJ will be all but impossible, go ahead, but i would be putting all my efforts into finding somewhere to live.

        Comment


          #5
          You can counter claim for compensation to offset the rent owed in a Section 8 claim.
          But a claim for compensation for PTSD triggered by a dispute about an electricity bill and subsequent harassment is going to be tough to argue in what’s likely to be a 15 minute property court hearing.

          If you have a formal diagnosis of PTSD and can evidence the likely cause, it might be worth a shot.
          But you’re relying on the court deciding an actual figure for compensation which can offset the rent owed (presuming that’s the grounds for eviction), the court isn’t going to decide that not paying rent because of your mental state was justified.
          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


            #6
            Thankyou for your replies.

            Taking on board your comments but interested in how you think it is two separate things….?
            One action was the direct cause of another land if I’m in court disputing amount of money owed isn’t that the time to be arguing my case? Not to be receiving a ccj then appealing amount owed at a later date.
            I have evidence including police report, emails and sick notes to provide in court to support my case and whilst I agree it may not be able to be addressed in a 15 min hearing then my solicitor should be requesting longer hearing surely. Either way I feel brushing it under the carpet and saying it will be more unnecessary stress is letting this landlord get away with bullying tenants and what about the next tenant and the next one.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Forgetmeknot View Post
              One action was the direct cause of another land if I’m in court disputing amount of money owed isn’t that the time to be arguing my case? Not to be receiving a ccj then appealing amount owed at a later date.
              You might find a sympathetic judge.

              But you have to consider what you're trying to argue.
              If you'd been in a car crash and were in hospital and unable to work, that wouldn't be a defence to not paying rent owed.
              You're trying to argue that it was the landlord driving the car that hit you ( to stretch the analogy to breaking point!)

              You might have a perfectly viable claim against the landlord (or anyone else) for compensation for your ill health, but it's not going to be an easy defence against an eviction for not paying rent.
              If that case had already been decided, you could use any claim against the landlord to reduce the amount owed.

              But it's a very hard case to make in any case.
              You'd have to show that your mental health had suffered causing you a loss, that it was, at least in part, caused by the landlord's behaviour and actions and that the outcome was a reasonably foreseeable consequence (if applied to a person of normal health and mental fortitude - unless you are particularly likely to be affected and the landlord should have known that.)

              I have evidence including police report, emails and sick notes to provide in court to support my case and whilst I agree it may not be able to be addressed in a 15 min hearing then my solicitor should be requesting longer hearing surely.
              I think you're likely to need more than a sick note to evidence PTSD, most GPs aren't qualified to make that diagnosis.

              If the issues raised in the hearing mean a longer hearing is required the judge will arrange one.

              Either way I feel brushing it under the carpet and saying it will be more unnecessary stress is letting this landlord get away with bullying tenants and what about the next tenant and the next one.
              The problem is that the reason your home is being repossessed is because you owe the landlord money for rent you haven't paid.
              The issues you are raising explain the money owed, but they don't change the situation.

              And being realistic, lets accept that the landlord is a bully.
              Do you really think that your defence is going to either change their behaviour or stop their being a landlord?

              I'm trying to be realistic, but your solicitor is a legal professional and much better qualified than me about what your approach should be.
              It might be more fruitful to consider the damp and flood issues that mean rent wasn't appropriate for a period while the property was uninhabitable.


              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


                #8
                I'm guessing your landlord has used ground 8 for the Section 8 so your goal is to get the arrears under 2 months (assuming your rent is due monthly) by counter-claiming. Ben Reeves over at the Landlord Law Blog seems to think it is possible to counter-claim for damages to bring the arrears below the 2 month mark.

                Also there is the possibility of defending this ground with a counter claim for disrepair or breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment, any damages awarded can be offset against the arrears
                If your solicitor believes that suing the landlord and the Section 8 need to be treated separately then it might be worth seeking a second opinion from another solicitor or contacting Shelter. Can your solicitor explain to you why they need to be treated separately? I wonder if it is because proving harassment and the cause of PTSD might be too big for a possession order hearing and more suited to another kind of hearing but if you could demonstrate a breach of quiet enjoyment that might be enough for the Section 8. I don't really know and I'm not a lawyer.

                Like it or not your landlord was perfectly within his rights to issue a Section 21 notice when you questioned the electricity bill. Just as your landlord could issue a Section 21 because he saw a magpie that day. Not rational, not reasonable but perfectly legal since the Section 21 notice does not require a ground. If you are successful in fighting the Section 8 I suspect he will continue with the Section 21 route unless he's failed to do something that would make the Section 21 invalid.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Most of the above answers I agree with. I can add my experience as I am going through the Section 8 claim right now and seen 10 page defence and counter claims from expensive solicitor.

                  Though solicitor added one line of stress/harassment, but never highlighted. He says it is different case which can be fought in different court. Section 8 can be pushed back/struck off with counter claims and lot of litigation to think other party to drop Section 8 and move back to Section 21.

                  But if Landlord wants his property, definitely he comes back with section 21. In our case , though we haven't received Section 8 , now landlord says Section 21 is already in that envelop which contains Section 8 after the first adjournment. Lies, but it is clearly shows landlord intent that he might take up section 21 route now.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Forgetmeknot View Post
                    I wondered if anyone can tell me if it is possible to counter claim for damage, harassment, poss landlord breach in contract and emotional distress in a section 8 eviction.
                    so basically I’ve read online that i can claim for compensation which will go towards reducing my rent arrears but my solicitor who I had discussed this with ......
                    Sorry to read your story:

                    What can be used to get judge to reduce alleged arrears (thus maybe chucking case out) if pointing out all the repairs the landlord should have made , assigning a value to them, and thus judge reduces "arrears|" by that amount. See from the experts...
                    https://england.shelter.org.uk/profe...repair#title-1

                    Tenant offsets rent arrears against the damages for disrepair


                    In possession cases where there is disrepair it may be possible to argue that rent arrears should be 'set-off' against the damages for disrepair, reducing or completely cancelling out any arrears.[3]

                    Similarly, tenants who are not facing eviction may also be able to deduct the costs incurred from accumulated rent arrears using the procedure for withholding rent.[4] It may be possible to offset rent arrears in this way even if the property is sold to a new landlord.[5]

                    It is not necessary to be able to quantify the amount of damages in order to use set-off as a defence to a rent arrears action. When arrears can be offset


                    This option is only available if the landlord was in breach of their obligation to repair before the court proceedings started.[6] If the disrepair occurred later, then, although it can still be raised in court, the landlord can argue that it should be heard as a separate issue and cannot be used as a defence.

                    In order to argue successfully for set-off, the tenant needs to show that the set-off arises due to a breach of a condition of the tenancy, and that it would not be equitable (fair) to allow the landlord to recover the arrears claimed. The judge will look at the past conduct of both parties in relation to the tenancy, as well as whether the case is proved.

                    This procedure has the advantage that it takes account not just of the cost of the repair works but also of the damages that the tenant is entitled to as a result of the landlord's failure to carry out the repairs.

                    If a term in the tenancy agreement states that the tenant cannot offset rent arrears, it may constitute an unfair term, which will not be binding on the tenant.
                    - the experts in these matters are Shelter, 0808 800 4444. Review the link, decide if you have a case the 'phone them.

                    They are an overworked charity so there may be a wait to get through.

                    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

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