Tenant v Landlord dispute - any options?

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    Tenant v Landlord dispute - any options?

    I would like to know where I stand legally with my former landlord. It is my contention that they owe me money but I do not know if there are legal channels open to me in trying to reclaim the outstanding balance. I really want to know if the sum at stake is possibly less than the legal expenses I would incur & thus a lost cause.

    Some months ago, having left a rental property in London, my former landlord issued me with a bill for over £2000, consisting of over 2 months rent, £500 worth of repairs/cleaning & a penalty fee they had invented. As this demand came through their solicitors along with a threat of imminent legal action, I decided it best to put forward a cheque for £1000 pending resolution of the matter & to offer my defence with a letter of explanation. I had not paid the final month’s rent at the old property, anticipating problems of this sort, as the landlord already held a month & a half’s rent as a security deposit anyway.

    My argument is that I left their property some 6 weeks before they claim I did. There is ample proof of this fact, most tellingly a number of witnesses plus the purchase agreement for the new house I moved into. The tenancy agreement I signed with them ran for a year only & I stayed for the duration of this. One month prior to the end of this term I informed the landlord’s letting agency of this fact but the landlord claims they were not made aware of this. Either way, I should not be culpable for any rent after the expiry of the lease, leaving aside the fact that I vacated & never returned a whole 15 days before it elapsed. The figure they set upon is based on the assumption that I continued living in their property past this time.

    Adding the £1200 security bond to the £1000 cheque I sent them, I am well over £2000 in credit. I put all my evidence to their solicitors & explained all my actions in detail, but all I received was a terse letter stating that their client did not believe my version of events but was willing to settle the matter at that. I was not satisfied with this at all as demonstrable facts were being ignored as if it were really only a matter of opinion & not a matter of fact. I wrote their solicitors demanding a statement of their case in light of the information I provided them with, but they have pointedly ignored me.

    Can anyone tell me if there are any measures I can take given my financial disadvantage before this multi million pound business & their expensive legal advisors?

    Thanks in anticipation

    Al

    #2
    Originally posted by amaclennan View Post
    I would like to know where I stand legally with my former landlord. It is my contention that they owe me money but I do not know if there are legal channels open to me in trying to reclaim the outstanding balance. I really want to know if the sum at stake is possibly less than the legal expenses I would incur & thus a lost cause.

    Some months ago, having left a rental property in London, my former landlord issued me with a bill for over £2000, consisting of over 2 months rent, £500 worth of repairs/cleaning & a penalty fee they had invented. As this demand came through their solicitors along with a threat of imminent legal action, I decided it best to put forward a cheque for £1000 pending resolution of the matter & to offer my defence with a letter of explanation. I had not paid the final month’s rent at the old property, anticipating problems of this sort, as the landlord already held a month & a half’s rent as a security deposit anyway.

    were you given and did you sign an inventory at the commencement of the tenancy? Without this the Landlord is hard pushed to prove you have done £500.00 worth of damage, what does the penalty fee relate to has this been explained to you?

    My argument is that I left their property some 6 weeks before they claim I did. There is ample proof of this fact, most tellingly a number of witnesses plus the purchase agreement for the new house I moved into. The tenancy agreement I signed with them ran for a year only & I stayed for the duration of this. One month prior to the end of this term I informed the landlord’s letting agency of this fact but the landlord claims they were not made aware of this. Either way, I should not be culpable for any rent after the expiry of the lease, leaving aside the fact that I vacated & never returned a whole 15 days before it elapsed. The figure they set upon is based on the assumption that I continued living in their property past this time. when legally did your tenancy end - if your AST has a start and end date and was for a fxed term of 12 months . Did you inform the agent in writing of your intentions to vacate - not that you had to really.

    Adding the £1200 security bond to the £1000 cheque I sent them, I am well over £2000 in credit. I put all my evidence to their solicitors & explained all my actions in detail, but all I received was a terse letter stating that their client did not believe my version of events but was willing to settle the matter at that. I was not satisfied with this at all as demonstrable facts were being ignored as if it were really only a matter of opinion & not a matter of fact. I wrote their solicitors demanding a statement of their case in light of the information I provided them with, but they have pointedly ignored me. have you sent them a letter by recorded delivery to prove delivery? Might be worth doing this i would suggest.

    Can anyone tell me if there are any measures I can take given my financial disadvantage before this multi million pound business & their expensive legal advisors?


    Thanks in anticipation

    Al
    I would certainly take it further, as an agent there are too many rogue landlords out there who think they can take what they like without any justification whatsoever. Good luck!

    Comment


      #3
      I believe that even when tenants quit their contract early, the most that letting agents/landlords can do is to try and mitigate their losses by billing the tenant for expenses, such as the re-advertising costs, and the period in which the property remained empty (when the original tenant left and when new tenants commence their tenancy and that they must actively seek a replacement tenant).

      In other words, they cannot necessarily retain or charge rent for the entire period left on an agreement and I can't see how they can bill you for a period after your agreement was set to expire and particularly as you have ample proof that it wasn't your primary residence.

      However, do provide the further info that Poppy35 has asked, such as whether you had a signed inventory, the length of the AST and if a notice period applied according to your agreement, etc.

      This is what the Shelter website says about fixed term agreements which indicates that there is no requirement for tenants to provide notice.

      http://england.shelter.org.uk/advice...ipLive-14092-4

      What happens when my agreement runs out?

      If your agreement is for a fixed term (eg. six months), you can leave on the last day of the fixed term without giving notice. But you must ensure that you do not stay even one day over, or you will automatically become a periodic tenant and will have to give proper notice or come to an agreement with your landlord.

      If you intend to leave on the last day you are not legally required to give the landlord any notice..
      Last edited by Beeber; 30-01-2007, 17:04 PM. Reason: spelling error on quoted username (should read Poppy35 and not Poppy)

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Tenant v Landlord dispute - any options?

        first of all, thank you both for your time & imput in this matter.

        to fill in the holes for you:

        there was no inventory made at the beginning of the agreement & i did point that out to their solicitors. furthermore, the property in question is a very small studio apartment so the figure they have demanded is grossly inflated.

        the agreement i signed was for a year. prior to the end of the lease the landlord's letting agency sent me a standard letter of notification. the letter stated that, as my lease was due for expiry, they would like to know now if i intended to extend the period, as they wanted to begin showing the property at the earliest juncture, should i be leaving. they also stated that failure to inform them would cause them to conclude that i was leaving anyway.

        even so, the letter contained a section to fill & return. nothing but 2 checkboxes, one to tick if planning to stay, one if planning to go. i, of course, did the latter & returned it. unfortunately i didn't make a copy of this letter. i thought this was sufficient notice since they initiated this correspondence. i received no communication from their office after that.

        finally, from the time of their original letter, i have maintained an ongoing dialogue with the solicitors via mail. i have tried to address every question posed to me, trusting (perhaps a tad naively) in their good faith & intentions to seek a just settlement. have reached a point where there is nothing left to explain i am waiting for them to reimburse me. even if i lose a couple of hundred (at most) by way of a compromise.

        alas, it appears it is only me who is compromised in this matter & wonder if there are solicitors you could recommend practised in this type of claim.

        Comment


          #5
          If your agreement is for a fixed term (eg. six months), you can leave on the last day of the fixed term without giving notice. But you must ensure that you do not stay even one day over, or you will automatically become a periodic tenant and will have to give proper notice or come to an agreement with your landlord.

          Only if you offer rent and it is accepted.

          Comment


            #6
            The solicitors are just calling your bluff and you should not have sent them anything. No inventory makes their case nigh impossible to prove, and the proof is entirely upon your landlord; you have to prove sweet FA.

            Serve a summons in the small claims court against the landlord for all of your deposit and any other monies you are owed, and the judge might just look after your interests!
            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.

            Comment


              #7
              I know that the OP has previously communicated with the landlord's solicitors but could anyone advise whether she should give them one last chance to settle rather than going directly to the small claims court, sending a letter before action giving them 2 weeks to pay up this sum?

              This is because of the advice on the HM Courts Service site that insists that issuing a claim should be the last resort and so they may look for evidence that this has been done. Perhaps the original documentation that she has is enough, anyway.

              "You should first consider other ways to settle the matter. For example, if you are owed money, you could write a letter to the person who owes it. Say how much they owe, what it is for, and what steps you have already taken to recover the money. Include a warning that you will consider issuing a county court claim if they do not pay by the date you give. Sometimes this warning will encourage them to pay and you will not have to go to court. Keep a copy of the letter and any reply. You are strongly advised to read Her Majesty's Court Service leaflet: Making a Claim"

              Info and a sample letter is provided here

              http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/c...ex301_0406.pdf

              Link to Moneyclaim online HM Courts service

              https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/csmco2/index.jsp

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Tenant v Landlord dispute - any options?

                thanks for the added input & sorry i've been out of sight for 2 days but i've been travelling. this is an excellent & active forum & i read all the postings with interest.

                i definitely intend to pursue the suggested line. i want to give it a go rather than just fold before their apparent indifference.

                also, as recommended, i will offer them another chance to settle amicably before pursuing it in court. i never wanted to go to these lengths but my suspicion is that they assume that i will be too cowed, too clueless or too lazy to take matters any further.

                but, unless i can see myself losing more more than i could possibly gain, i am prepared to look for justice elsewhere. one can feel quite impotent in a situation like this. its heartening to know that there is a line of approach open to challenge a well financed & well organised company, intent on financially strong-arming a vulnerable ex-client.

                i will go to work on this letter at once.

                many thanks once again for everyone's excellent advice & the time & thought you spared in giving it

                Regards
                A

                Comment


                  #9
                  It might be the case that your previous correspondance indicates that you have given sufficient chance for them to settle and that you can kick off a Moneyclaims action online straight away.

                  I was hoping that the more experienced posters on this forum would advise on whether a 'letter before action' is recommended or whether you had sufficient evidence in hand to show the court action is a last resort as it stands.

                  I just would hate for any action you undertake to recover the unfair deductions and rent arrears that you are clearly not responsible for to falter on this element.

                  Good luck and keep the forum advised of the outcome.

                  Comment

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