Help please - been through ADR, now threatened with Small Claims Court

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  • Help please - been through ADR, now threatened with Small Claims Court

    Hi

    I'm both a Landlord and a Tenant (long story!), would appreciate any advice anyone has re a situation we're experiencing as a tenant.

    In 2007 I rented a property from a Landlord who was troublesome from day 1, to the point where I gave notice at the first available opportunity under the contract. Subsequent to the tenancy, there was a dispute over the return of the deposit which was arbitrated by ADR - through Mydeposits. The arbitrator found largely in our favour - most of the amount disputed was awarded to us.

    Subsequently, the Landlord has threatened me with Small Claims Court if I don't pay up for the majority of items for which the arbitrator found in my favour. I've queried whether the Landlord can do this and I've been told they can - the ADR decision is binding within the scheme only, I was told, and I can be pursued through the courts.

    I thought ADR was final and that the Landlord would be bound by the decision. Does anyone have any experience of this? And if the Landlord has signed an agreement to say they agree to be bound by the ADR decision, are they in breach of that agreement to subsequently take me to court?

    Any assistance would be gratefully received. Thanks.

  • #2
    I think you will find that if the landlord takes you to court then the judge will almost certainly endorse the decision of ADR unless there is a dispute concerning housing law that wasn't perhaps taken into account by the adjudicator that might have materially altered the decision.

    I know under TDS Ltd the adjudicator's decision is normally binding on both parties. ADR is used to free up the courts from such disputes, although it appears most adjudicators don't have any formal legal training.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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    • #3
      A post has appeared recently on another board the other way around where a landlord suffered from an non-appealable perverse DPS decision where the adjudicator had clearly misinterpreted housing law. The landlord concerned was enquiring where she should go from here. Paul F has provided the answer to her problem as well and, as he says, it is unlikely in your case that the judge will not endorse the adjudicator's decision.

      P.P.
      Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the feedback so far. It's reassuring to think that the Landlord is wasting their time trying to take this through small claims court - though it doesn't entirely take away the stress that they may actually be successful. Not a nice thing to have looming over my head - we're talking about nearly £4,000 being demanded.

        I don't think anything being requested relates to housing law - it's all items under the tenancy agreement where the landlord thinks we're in breach of the agreement. For example, a carpet was already heavily stained in places, the Landlord claims we added to the stains and as a result is claiming nearly £1,700 for a new carpet! For a start, we didn't add to the stains and secondly the Landlord's appointed clerk for checking out saw no problems when we checked out - and signed the inventory to that effect. It's just an annoying and stressful situation.

        I've checked the wording in the TDS Dispute Notification Claim Form and just above the signature, the last paragraph reads "I understand that the decision made by the Alternative Dispute Resolution service will be binding on me, the Landlord/Agent and the Scheme Administrator". So the fact that the Landlord isn't accepting the decision of the ADR and therefore not agreeing to be bound by it, are they effectively in breach of that agreement? I don't know much about contract law and not sure whether this gives me any legal grounds to claim breach of contract - the Claim Form isn't a contract as such, with 2 obvious counterparties. Any thoughts?

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        • #5
          the ADR decision should be binding on LL. As stated above LL will have real difficulty in bringing small claims court case.

          your defence should state that the claim is denied, nad the LL cannot bring this claim as this issue has already been decided by ADR. The LL has no right to look back into the decision simply because he did not agree with the decision.

          The defence should then also state that in the alternative, should the court entertain the claim then the claim is in any event denied on the following basis (and then provide a full defence to each element of the claim)
          PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

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          • #6
            David:

            If you can update your story at a later date it would be appreciated

            All the best.
            All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

            * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

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