A Court-ionary tale

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    A Court-ionary tale

    Had a court hearing on Thursday against ex tenants and guarantors. Didn't go well for me but thought I would flag up a few things that get mentioned on here from time to time.

    I should point out that before the 3 hour hearing began it was obvious the judge knew what his judgement would be as his blurb about appealing etc was addressed solely at myself.

    There were 3 issues -
    1) Rent
    2) Damage
    3) Guarantors liability

    1 - Rent

    Tenants had signed a 24 month contract and left after 3. New tenant not found for an extra 3 months due to my own ill health. Tenant claimed she had been told she could leave at any time with 4 weeks notice - even though I had proof that I had told her about the SPT option. She had no proof of this (it didn't happen) but judge allowed her off the 4 months rent and just rent in lieu of notice - but he didn't work out what that would be, he accepted the tenants (solicitors) version of what they owed - £160 or 8 days rent. I had a carefully worked out rent schedule including contractual interest at 3½% - ignored because he couldn't understand it (his words). He was clearly of the opinion that I was
    a) an evil bar steward because T didn't understand things; and
    b) wasting court time because she wouldn't be able to pay

    2 - Damage
    I got absolutely nothing. The key points to raise though are that the court was looking at replacement cost (ie I had to replace it) not the value of any damage done (whether it was replaced or not) and he also made it very clear that a week of the landlords time had zero financial value. So - if work needs doing, don't do it yourself, get a man in at twice the cost.

    3 - Guarantee
    Case dismissed - defendants argued that they were only liable for initial tenancy agreement, not subsequent fixed term agreement. Neither defendant was in court but had submitted written defences. Judge declared that where there was ambiguity, the 'benefit' was given against the person who drafted the agreement. I could not see what was ambiguous about "I hereby agree to indemnify you against any default in payment of rent, *mesne profits, damages for use and occupation, damages for disrepair, losses, cleaning of the premises to the original standard, other reasonable damages or costs you may incur as a result of the said tenancy, or any further occupation of the property after the expiry of the tenancy whether under a statutory continuation thereof or not."

    Executed as a deed, of course.

    I am pretty sure I could appeal 1 & 3, but the cost of doing so would not be worthwhile for me. I just offer these observations as they fly in the face of advice that we (including myself) often give on here.

    He did try and soften the blow by telling me I had behaved impeccably and presented everything without fault. Didn't make me feel much better.

    #2
    OMG, I am so so sorry. How absolutely frustrating!

    Do you think it is a matter of the judge's IQ?

    Especially point 1 which is clearly objective. How could any judge possibly come up with a different verdict than a straightforward calculation. I feel like demanding this judge should be stricken off the bar.

    Maybe we should have a get together of "frustrated LLZers" and have a drink and moan party. :-(

    Comment


      #3
      I am sure the judges IQ was fine, just seemed to have his own agenda. It was ironic as I run a tenant-help website (and am creating another)

      Comment


        #4
        That reminds me of a time someone sued me for their money back after they had run a vehicle they bought from me without oil, thereby seizing the engine. The judge opined that he had had experience of garage owners lying so no matter what I said he was going to find for the plaintiff. My wife was in court with me and I had to physically restrain her from ripping his throat out.

        Whatchya creating Snorkerz?
        Last edited by jta; 12-04-2013, 19:24 PM. Reason: Whatchya.............
        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jta View Post
          That reminds me of a time someone sued me for their money back after they had run a vehicle they bought from me without oil, thereby seizing the engine. The judge opined that he had had experience of garage owners lying so no matter what I said he was going to find for the plaintiff.
          I don't understand. Isn't there such a thing as an expert opinion that the judge has to go by? Aren't these judges worried that by making grossly "sided" judgements, they may harm themselves?

          Comment


            #6
            If an appeals court finds a prior judgement to be grossly wrong, is there any hitback onto the initial judge?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Bird View Post
              I don't understand. Isn't there such a thing as an expert opinion that the judge has to go by? Aren't these judges worried that by making grossly "sided" judgements, they may harm themselves?
              In the case of my rent, there is 'case law', where senior courts have made decisions previously which bind the lower courts. That's why I think I could appeal (1). Yes, my witness statement did include the relevant case law.

              There is no doubt it is flipping annoying, but things go wrong in business some times, que sera.

              Comment


                #8
                Sorry snorkerz: Deepest sympathy, 'taint right. Law ain't same as justice eh??

                Any mileage is appealling/whatever one does in such circumstances???

                Better luck in the next case.. and don;t let the b*****rs get you down...
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Bird View Post
                  I don't understand. Isn't there such a thing as an expert opinion that the judge has to go by? Aren't these judges worried that by making grossly "sided" judgements, they may harm themselves?
                  They're bloody minded when they want to be, they often think the people in front of them have no understanding of the law and are frightened of the costs involved in challenging their nonsenses, and they're right, legal costs are so high that everybody thinks twice before making a fuss.

                  If you're ever in that situation just quietly leave the court, then slash his tyres before you leave the car park. Never forget...........never forgive.
                  I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                    Sorry snorkerz: Deepest sympathy, 'taint right. Law ain't same as justice eh??

                    Any mileage is appealling/whatever one does in such circumstances???

                    Better luck in the next case.. and don;t let the b*****rs get you down...
                    I'm sure I could appeal on 1 & 3 and have a good chance - but like yourself, I'm a long distance landlord, so the cost of more hearings isn't worth it as the chance of meaningful recovery against Ts is minimal. Was doing it out of principle - judge actually questioned my motives.

                    Forgot to mention hearing was adjourned for 10 mins while T had a good blub. Not that she was after the sympathy vote you understand?

                    Artful, they won't get me down, it's life innit, and in any bed of roses, there are thorns.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wow, tough. Sorry to hear that Snorkerz.

                      Especially I think you were already very nice re. only 3.5% interest considering that when suing for debt interests can be claimed at 8%.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Sorry to hear about your lovely judge Snorkerz. It ain't just you: http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...669#post418669

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Sorry to hear of this Snorkerz.

                          point 2: I've also had a judge declare that my time is worth nothing, so I've got a handyman who will always claim to do my work for me. I also have a couple of 'juniors' at £3.50 p/h who clear lofts, weed gardens, sand doors, undercoat, shift stuff, set up tvs etc. Bless their cotton socks. And a lad with ADHD who mows the lawns.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Oops I really mean claim in that he does the hours and I pay him. That gives me some 'free time' to do some hobbies I enjoy such as quilting or knitting socks. Stop laughing - I really do knit socks.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Berlingogirl View Post
                              Oops I really mean claim in that he does the hours and I pay him. That gives me some 'free time' to do some hobbies I enjoy such as quilting or knitting socks. Stop laughing - I really do knit socks.
                              Oh I thought you meant they were 'imaginary' people who worked for you.

                              Comment

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