court claim vs counter claim (apparantly!)

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    court claim vs counter claim (apparantly!)

    Hello people.
    Been having a read of the forum recently due to a situation I am in with my ex-LL.
    Everyone here has given some great advice so I thought it a good place to ask some questions.

    Here's the situation: -

    Rented with a private landlord, via Townends estate agent. (3 of us shared property)
    Have an AST.
    Lived there 3 years.
    LL holds £1384 deposit.

    LL (who now lives in Spain) came over to property and said that if we'd like to stay on he is doing the house up (hasn't been decorated since 70's) but he would then be putting the rent up from £1000 to £1500. He also admitted at this point he had been losing money on the house.
    We said no thanks, we were planning to move anyway.
    We wrote to the LL to give our 2 months notice - this took us to 1st May 06.
    He then offered for Mr X to stay on and just pay his months share of rent until his new place was ready (which was 1st July). LL said he'd rather have a bit of money than no money at all. As he was getting builders in the house would be empty otherwise till the work could start.
    Mr X agreed, and stayed till 1st July.
    Me and other person move out end of April.
    Other person gets her £461 deposit back. LL says my cheque will be in post.
    Don't get anything. Ring spain many times - can never get thru, or get fobbed off.
    I gave my bed to Mr X cos his was too big for where he was moving + Mr X uses my old room to live in cos its nicer + so that he can sell his bed.
    LL turns up at the house mid-May, sees the bed + some washing that Mr X (my best friend) had done for me cos i forgot it in machine when i moved. He then accuses me of still living there.
    I tell LL to come to my new place + see for himself that i've moved, will discuss deposit face to face. He says Ok. Doesn't show or reply to further calls. This goes on for all of May and June.
    Mr X witholds his last month payment (£340) as we cannot get in touch with LL and he is now worried about deposit also. I think he may have even told LL that seeing as he was coming to UK in a few days he can give him the cash.
    By now it's July, and house is empty.
    Having no luck with LL, I then speak to LA. They can't get hold of him either, tell me to ring back.
    I keep ringing them, eventually they say "the LL says the house isn't cleaned, the garden needs cutting. Blah blah"
    Could this be why he is keeping deposit?
    LA also say they can't do anything cos our contract is over.
    We call Spain again and manage to get LL to agree that if we go and clean the house again, and cut the garden, he'd send cheque.
    We do the work, then send a letter (to LA as we dont have his address), saying basically "We expect the cheque forthwith, if we don't hear back by this date (just over 2 weeks), we shall seek legal redress" We also send keys at this point.
    Mr X then gets an email from LL saying "how much do you think i owe you, seeing as you owe me £340 and (I) owes 2 weeks which she agreed to"
    I reply to this email saying "I did not agree to anything. I moved out at end of April like I said. Had you met up with me like you agreed you could have seen this. I'm not paying you rent because I gave my bed away. etc etc"
    I get ridiculous emails back from him, until I eventually just state that if we dont get full cheque we will go to small claims.
    His last reply to me was "fine.. by the way I will be counter claiming for breach of contract". He also sent an email to Mr X saying "i'm sending a cheque for £121 cos I don't have a problem with you"

    Sooooooo...

    Filling in court papers Monday (that is last day of 2 week notice). I have gathered all my evidence - final bills for end of April in my name sent to my new address. Bank letter to say i changed address. Bank statement showing all payments going to LL on time. Contents insurance in my name which starts 27th April (day i moved) for new address. About 6 witness statements from various people saying the house was in better condition when we left then when we moved in (we re-painted whole house, took up carpet and varnished floorboards - after letter from LL with permission to do so!) Statements also from people who helped me move + were living with me in new address.

    What would he possibly be counter claiming with?
    And what do you think our chances are?
    Also, nothing in contract about deposit re: interest.. are we entitled to it for the 3 years, or do i just claim the 8% (county court rate) from May?

    Its all very stressful because as usual, us tenants do feel intimidated by landlords who we assume know the business.


    #2
    First of all was an inventory carried out when you first moved into the property?
    If none was conducted the landlord can't claim anything for possible damage because he's got no proof as to the condition of the property.

    Then, you served notice to leave the property by 1st May 2006. I assume you were in a periodic tenancy and not in a fixed term (for exemple you signed a new agreement in January 2006 for 6 months?).
    If you were in a periodic tenancy, your giving notice determined the whole tenancy meaning the tenancy was terminated for all the tenants.
    You moved out as agreed so no money is due.

    The one thing that could cause problem is whether you gave your keys back when you moved out or later. You would have to wait for an expert here to give more advice.

    If you gave your keys back when you moved out the landlord wouldn't be able to prove that you were still living at the property and you have proof that you were living in a new property so he can't charge you anything.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the reply.
      No, there was no inventory, either when we moved in or when we moved out.
      We've never had to sign another tenancy agreement, other than the first one, and then 8 months before leaving (because 1 tenant was replaced by another person.)
      Me and the other who moved end of April gave our keys to the third person, as he had agreed with the LL to stay on for 2 months alone.
      There was no contract for this tho.
      It's a very messy situation, but it does seem to be the LL's word against ours.
      I'm just checking that there is not something I've missed which gives the LL the upper hand!

      Comment


        #4
        Doe's the landlord have an address in England or Wales because this could be a stumbling block.S48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act(1987)specifys that an address for service of documents must be given in England or Wales which is usually written into the AST.As your landlord is presumbly resident in Spain I can only advise that you speak to a solicitior.
        Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.

        Comment


          #5
          Do you mean a stumbling block for me or him?
          When we first moved in, he lived in England and we have an address on the AST which is his old home address. Whether or not he can still receive mail there I don't know. In the last email the LL sent me he said that his solicitor says send the court papers to the property we were living in.
          I don't believe he has actually spoken to a solicitor as everything from him seems said in anger, and not based on evidence, if that makes sense?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by thelioncub View Post
            Do you mean a stumbling block for me or him?
            When we first moved in, he lived in England and we have an address on the AST which is his old home address. Whether or not he can still receive mail there I don't know. In the last email the LL sent me he said that his solicitor says send the court papers to the property we were living in.
            I don't believe he has actually spoken to a solicitor as everything from him seems said in anger, and not based on evidence, if that makes sense?
            No the stumbling block is his. He should have notifyed you of a change of address that is the law.I suggest you start court proceedings , as he is not resident in the country and if im correct wouldnt he default if he did'nt appear in court as this would be classified as a small claims.The downside is that do you have an address in Spain for him.If not I don't know how EEC law would work.Looking at it retrospectivly if a tenant owed money to a landlord in the UK and the tenant was living in spain.How would the landlord get his money back.There is grounds for debate on this.
            Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.

            Comment


              #7
              As he was acting through an agent, the agent's address would count as a valid England + Wales address, the landlord did not need to give a change of address.
              Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by MrShed View Post
                As he was acting through an agent, the agent's address would count as a valid England + Wales address, the landlord did not need to give a change of address.
                Thanks for correcting me Mr Shed it was only when I read the OP again I realized my mistake.But I must ask the question if a tenant does a "moonlight" clearing off to Spain owing thousands what course of action could be taken.
                Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Quite alright pms...wasn't a bad thought, just not applicable in this case! From what I can judge, the guy is still a British resident with a UK address, so I don't think the problem is in getting a judgement against him. The problem will be in enforcement of the judgement. However, as he has a property, you can get that order where he can't sell the property until he pays up(forget the proper name!) although this course of action clearly would result in a prolonged period of time before you receive the judgement.
                  Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Update

                    Just in case people want to know how this is panning out..

                    The landlord didn't respond to the court papers.
                    I filed a request for CCJ on 18th.. On the 20th i get a cheque from him for "his final offer" amount - which is £100 less than what he originally owed.. and £200 less than the final amount with interest and court costs.
                    I spoke to the court and they advised I send the cheque back if i didnt want to accept part-payment.. so I did.
                    The CCJ has now been filed..
                    *waits*

                    How long before I can ask the court to move to next stage? (put order against house so he cannot sell it)??
                    Is a CCJ going to have much effect on someone who lives/works in Spain now.. (but still has letting business in UK)??

                    Comment

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