Need help re sons miss sold student accommodation....

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    #46
    Okay I understand about the en-suite/non ensuite... I've checked the 'acceptance of student accommodation' (it isn't an AST like I'm used to seeing in my line), they only gave him one page, and it doesn't say you have exclusive access to bathroom 6a. His room was number 6 and his bathroom was 6a, so I guess he was just told that's his bathroom when moving in, obviously he did have exclusive use but don't know how to prove that if we needed to, however if I bring that up in writing or over the phone it may be sufficient enough for them to back down as it was his bathroom and they look to have retaken possession. I'm sure it would look to the courts that bathroom 6a did form part of the rental property so although they may not know that we have to prove it was exclusive to him that alone may be enough for the University to back down.

    Links to the handbook on the document don't work and any online brochures/booklets about the accommodation don't state room x's bathroom is xa etc. Actually the brochure states that the property in question's 22 rooms are all en-suite.

    edit*** he was told when moving in this is your bathroom and he had the only key, which was handed back with the bedroom key

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      #47
      Then IMO your son has a good argument that the LL has accepted a surrender (esp. if it also turns out that they're doing work in the bedroom).

      It doesn't matter that the contract says en suite. The truth of the matter is that whilst it wasn't en ensuite it was still exclusively his bathroom and part of the tenancy. (My only query would be in terms of it being completely separate...does that make it two tenancies etc, but I don't think this would matter at county court level - both T and LL knew what the deal was).

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        #48
        thanks westminster.... I'm just waiting to see if they move into the bedroom to work before I contact them saying I believe they have retaken possession and therefore accept my son's surrender.

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          #49
          Well this is still on going, we didn't receive a reply from uni so we wrote again asking why they didn't answer our questions about misrepresentation and not providing what was in the contract to which they said they had replied and had said they weren't going over the uni position again, he owes the money and that's that basically, but he could go and see them about financial assistance which I imagine is simply paying the money over time but we don't feel it's owed.

          However as we'll as not addressing those issues they also seem to be taking no notice at all about our claim they have retaken possession and therefore accepted the surrender by stripping out the bathroom and more recently they have removed the bed in the room and given it to another room which might help us further.

          We now have debt collectors involved and a solicitors letter claiming if not paid within 7 days they will add interest and take us to court, is this the court proceedings where we would argue our case? Where would this take place location wise, and if the judge took no notice of us what could we expect to be added to a 3k debt in respect of legal fees?

          I expect its pointless speaking to the collector or solicitor (who has some bad feedback on the www and mention about numerous complaints to regulators) and that our only way to halt this is to speak to the uni direct, maybe even offer a settlement to try and end this matter, if we ignore the letters I don't see much point in them taking a unemployed student to court with no assets or way to repay any court award, I'd like to think they are trying to scare my son with these letters and its a call my bluff type of game but of course it's still worrying to say the least.

          I wondered if a judge agreed that they re took possession and did accept surrender would they rule that it only applies from when they moved in to do the work which was April, therefore possibly ruling that we owe them until this point rather than scrapping the whole contract?

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            #50
            Originally posted by tubbs View Post
            We now have debt collectors involved and a solicitors letter claiming if not paid within 7 days they will add interest and take us to court, is this the court proceedings where we would argue our case? Where would this take place location wise, and if the judge took no notice of us what could we expect to be added to a 3k debt in respect of legal fees?
            A court claim will be issued by HM Court Service and be on form N1. Letters from solicitors or debt collectors are not a court claim.

            Hearings are usually assigned to the defendant's local county court.

            A claim of £3K would be allocated to the small claims track, where costs are restricted. If your son lost, he wouldn't be ordered to pay the LL's legal fees. It would just be court fees (which are low in small claims), and some other minor, allowable expenses.

            ... if we ignore the letters I don't see much point in them taking a unemployed student to court with no assets or way to repay any court award, I'd like to think they are trying to scare my son with these letters and its a call my bluff type of game but of course it's still worrying to say the least.
            Don't ignore the letters. Write back briefly stating your position.

            Large corporations don't necessarily take a 'rational' approach or consider the ability of someone to pay. It can well be a case of 'company policy', just as you'd be pursued for an unpaid parking ticket regardless of whether you could afford to pay or not.

            I wondered if a judge agreed that they re took possession and did accept surrender would they rule that it only applies from when they moved in to do the work which was April, therefore possibly ruling that we owe them until this point rather than scrapping the whole contract?
            If the court decided that there was a surrender by operation of law, then they would also decide the date that it happened, - probably around April - and rent would be owing and payable up to that date. But county court decisions are unpredictable, and in the small claims track decisions aren't always strictly according to the letter of the law, more along the lines of common sense/fairness, at least where the court has a degree of discretion. It's possible the court might see the LL's original failure to provide accommodation up to the promised standard as a breach of contract - who knows? If you do face a court claim, it's worth arguing all your corners in the defence.

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              #51
              thanks wenstminster very helpful information, I spoke briefly with the bursar but he wouldn't speak about specifics in this case due to privacy so we skirted around the points, they wouldn't be taking it to court unless they thought they would win etc, and the gutting of the bathroom he sees it as merely upgrading the students accommodation and for a couple/few days of inconvenience to the student they would be happy with improvements, surely this work couldn't be done without my sons permission though, after all when its his accommodation just like when I rent a house out I can't just carry out major works without consent?

              I think common sense says they don't want to take it to court as I'm sure they could face fees almost the same as the debt, (not certain but could be wrong) and if they're not recoverable (though they state fees in letter), perhaps they would perhaps take a settlement offer which would be less headache for me too despite us not agreeing with the debt. My son is going to speak with the well being dept as apparently they have slush funds for cases of hardship and may be able to help him out, a small chance but worth looking into to.

              Comment


                #52
                I'm considering making an offer to the finance office, a settlement offer to try and end this matter, only payable over a period of time however as my son wont have the disposable income to pay all at once. Although this offer would be made with us still standing by our claims, would an offer even if declined look like an admission of some sort, or perhaps even be a good thing for us to do?

                Comment


                  #53
                  Originally posted by tubbs View Post
                  ...gutting of the bathroom he sees it as merely upgrading the students accommodation and for a couple/few days of inconvenience to the student they would be happy with improvements, surely this work couldn't be done without my sons permission though, after all when its his accommodation just like when I rent a house out I can't just carry out major works without consent?
                  I think your argument is stronger than their argument. For a start, they didn't contact your son to ask his consent to do the works...

                  I think common sense says they don't want to take it to court as I'm sure they could face fees almost the same as the debt, (not certain but could be wrong) and if they're not recoverable (though they state fees in letter)...
                  In my experience (as litigant-in-person against larger corporation), the other side threatening costs is 'standard' practice, quite often they don't realize that costs are very much restricted in the small claims track, unlike other tracks of the county court.

                  Originally posted by tubbs View Post
                  I'm considering making an offer to the finance office, a settlement offer to try and end this matter, only payable over a period of time however as my son wont have the disposable income to pay all at once. Although this offer would be made with us still standing by our claims, would an offer even if declined look like an admission of some sort, or perhaps even be a good thing for us to do?
                  What you should do, if you do decide to make an offer to settle, is put a header at the top of the letter saying 'WITHOUT PREJUDICE'. This means that the letter can't be used as evidence by the other side if it all ended up in court - i.e. you don't risk it looking like an admission.

                  And in any case, you would say in the letter what you say here, that you stand by your argument and by offering to settle you are not making an admission.

                  Comment


                    #54
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    I think your argument is stronger than their argument. For a start, they didn't contact your son to ask his consent to do the works...
                    thanks again westminster.... they counter argued our point that we could have returned at any time should we have wished to and they have done several rooms not just my sons at times when others were away etc, although they then state that no money was received and any work was done after we declared that we terminated the contract and were not going to pay the balance, but surely as they clearly say they hadn't accepted the surrender they cant really use this argument? Am I right in assuming they should obtain permission to do the works if the tenancy was continuing?

                    A couple of side notes about this....Something else I noticed yesterday online regarding the poor advertising/miss selling in the fist place, the 2012/2013 brochure that we have states this property has 22 rooms and 22 en suites, however I notice for the 2013/2014 brochure they have added the clause at the bottom specifically regarding the property in question 'The Majority of rooms are en-suite, however some have dedicated, lockable bathrooms.', its as if they know they advertised them wrongly last year and know it! I've not mentioned this to them yet.

                    Also these are university managed properties, where privately owned houses have been leased to the University, I raised the question of whether this was an AST and the accommodation said no its a fixed term contract with the Uni and aren't required to protect deposits which they haven't, I just wondered if they should have or not as its slightly different to halls of residence that are owned by the Uni?

                    Comment


                      #55
                      You both have arguments. That's inevitable with this type of dispute. There isn't a 'right' or 'wrong' as such, it'd be for a court to decide, based on all the facts.

                      It is important to consider, and to take seriously, the position from the LL's POV. If this goes to court, then you do not concentrate merely on what you need to argue to win; you also need to understand why you might lose, in order to defeat the defence.

                      Comment


                        #56
                        The defence's argument

                        Your son stayed there for 2 months before moving out. Why didn't your son on moving in go to the university accommodation and state that he was expecting an ensuite and new furniture etc, etc?

                        "He never brought anything to their attention before he left and they could have moved him etc, they have since inspected the room and find it to be okay. They are concerned about his health issues but that was things like waking up each day sore throat coughs etc."

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