Has DPS' PI changed recently?

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    Has DPS' PI changed recently?

    Please don't merge this as its to do with my ex landlord, not my current problems!

    Moved out 23rd May '14, didn't attend professional check out inspection as we had to move 50 miles away due to unlawful eviction.
    LL emailed the report on 28th May and notified us of an estimated cost of £1900 for damages she said we caused (we didn't- all things we have proof of reporting within the first week or so).
    I immediately responded with my comments and said we wouldn't agree to any of it as it was things we had reported straight away and that while we agreed to the findings of the check out inspection, we did not admit any of the problems being down to us. Check in inventory was basic, ticks next to items and that was it, so obviously both inventories couldn't be cross examined properly.

    A month or so later my parents, the guarantors received a letter from Landlord Action demanding full payment saying the amount for damages was £2300-odd. It had a vague breakdown saying things like 'kitchen' but didn't go into detail.
    They said that if we paid within (I think) 2 weeks that they were willing to settle at a reduced amount of around £1900.
    We requested to know what the exact damages were but were ignored.

    August came and we received court papers so responded adding a counterclaim, but still hadn't received proper info on the so called damages!

    A month later after asking lots of times we finally got a breakdown.
    It was for everything we had reported, things that were structural and things that weren't even mentioned on either of the inventories!

    Wondering if that would be classed as not following proper pre court action protocol?

    We also had rent arrears of just over a month because we had to use the money on securing a new home for us and our 4 children because of LL harassing us, nagging us to leave all the time, letting herself in, arranging open house viewings without giving us any notice (all because we were going to be 3 days late with rent one week because of an unexpected direct debit-out fault and we fully admit that but as soon as we alerted her the very second we found out it had happened on a Sunday she went on a mission to get us out of we didn't pay it by midnight that night because of her mortgage payment the next day coming out and relisted the property and said she would serve notice but us being naive just thought 'we need to do the best for our kids right now and get a home').

    We have asked for the rent arrears to be waived in luie of the fact we had to use the same amount to move somewhere quickly, leave everything and everyone we know etc and weren't feeling our family was safe in the property.

    What do you think our chances are of the judge granting this?

    We have the court hearing this Friday and I'm so nervous about it. We have also requested 3x the deposit because of no PI.

    Thanks for reading and sorry I keep posting complicated things!

    Oh 36 month AST in England, started 13th Nov' '13. No break clause.
    Deposit protected in time, just no PI other than a brief bit in TA, kept saying 'see t&c's' or 'see *dps website*'.
    No t&c's, no certificates or leaflets of any sort, no chance to check DPS information was correct.
    Deed of surrender signed for tenancy to end 24th May '14 - mentioned that it did not void anything that occurred during the tenancy but LL is now trying to use that against us saying that because we signed it we therefore were not unlawfully evicted. Can't be true can it?
    We signed it after seeking advice from the council to prevent LL from charging us to any further date.


      The thing to do with courts is be organised and prepared.

      Have copies of all the documents and messages to hand (make a few copies of everything).
      Get your dates right - make and take with you a list of all the important dates and times, so you can refer to it and say, "yes, that was Saturday 5th May when x happened". Otherwise you end up sounding vague.

      Is it a small claims case?
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


        Thanks again, yes it's small claims but only just sent our increase request in the other week and the total came up to just under £15k, will that change it from small claims or is it low enough to stay? Or at their discretion?
        We have already sent a 30-odd paged document with photos, date proof, screen shots from phones, copies of letters etc, all in chronological order of everything that happened and we have lots more to take too and I'm keeping it all as organised as possible. I have proven everything she has put me to strict proof of, she has not shown anything to prove her case other than what is obviously (I have evidence of) a fake invoice and her pretending to be someone from a non existing company, which I also have proof of it being her as the IP address showed the area she works in the email I was sent that was meant to confirm what products were used and what parts works were done and not anywhere near where the person (also evidence he does not work in the industry) works with his own business.
        Very complicated and she is also a lawyer in employment and disability law.

        Based on us being at a loss of the same amount as the rent arrears because of her actions and behaviour, do you think we have a chance of the rent arrears being waived because of that?


          SCC limit is £10K, above that CC only with attendant risks if you lose AFAIK no discretion.
          Ts liability for futue rent & property ended on date Deed of Surrender was signed by both parties.
          T has untill 13 Dec 19 to sue for non-protection of deposit, but since deposit was potected on time,but PI not provided, the compensation awarded is likely to be only 1x depsit.
          If you voluntatily (without duress) signed a Deed of Surrender, you were not illegally evicted IMO


            Originally posted by Gruffalo View Post
            Deed of surrender signed for tenancy to end 24th May '14 - mentioned that it did not void anything that occurred during the tenancy but LL is now trying to use that against us saying that because we signed it we therefore were not unlawfully evicted. Can't be true can it?
            Must be true, mustn't it? I've not read everything, but why do you think you were unlawfully evicted? What did you think you were signing when you were presented with the Deed of Surrender?


              Was the Deed of Surrender witnessed by an independent person? If so I don't understand what OP is harping on about.

              Freedom at the point of zero............


                Well, I hope the OP gets their case together and updates us - either way - after the hearing on Friday. It might bring some light to things. But I am somewhat nervous of the OP claiming unlawful eviction as a black-and-white when what they write certainly implies this wasn't the case.


                  Originally posted by mariner View Post
                  SCC limit is £10K, above that CC only with attendant risks if you lose AFAIK no discretion.
                  Sorry, what does AFAIK mean?
                  Court said if we increased the amount to not fit in small claims they would refer it to the one that deals with the amount.

                  Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post
                  Must be true, mustn't it? I've not read everything, but why do you think you were unlawfully evicted? What did you think you were signing when you were presented with the Deed of Surrender?
                  LL told us (I have proof) to pack or bags and leave because rent was going to be 3 days late one month. We notified her of a direct debit problem as soon as we realised. She relisted property straight away as available for the next month. She arranged an open house viewing while my 3 babies were napping with no notice whatsoever and let herself into the property and shouted the odds at us, scared all my children, especially my oldest with adhd who doesn't handle the unexpected very well at all. She would not leave. We asked to stay and said we would give the rent if she agreed but she refused and so I told her we had no money to get a new property and offered the deposit towards the last months rent at first but then our moving expenses (having to move 50 miles away as it was the only place we could find at short notice) came to the total of the rent arrears she wanted back and instead of her just accepting our offer of the deposit or letting us stay she has then tried charging us over £2k in damages to the property which are all things we reported within the first week or so. Amounts haven't added up throughout and we weren't given a breakdown of damages until after court proceedings had started.
                  We were told by the council to sign it so we weren't liable for any rent after they date it was signed.

                  Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
                  Was the Deed of Surrender witnessed by an independent person? If so I don't understand what OP is harping on about.
                  The estate agent sent it to us to sign, wasn't witnessed while signed though.


                    Originally posted by Gruffalo View Post
                    We were told by the council to sign it so we weren't liable for any rent after they date it was signed.
                    This is the bit that would worry me... you signed something, something that gives up your right to live in the property, to get something... that something, admittedly, being clarity on the fact that you would not be liable for rent after. Not your fault that you acted on advice, but the Landlord having that signed Deed of Surrender does seem to say you weren't unlawfully evicted (rather that you both came to an agreement that you would leave)... but I'm sure it will all come out in the wash... the devil is nearly always in the detail.

                    P.S. - AFAIK means "as far as I know".


                      Ok, so if I can prove I signed it under the advice of it being to prevent me from any other payments that should help right?
                      Ugh. Thank you so much for pointing this out, now I'm even more nervous though but I know I have evidence that I did it under advice to protect us more, which we needed with this LL.

                      As well as mentioning our other issues I the email which had come a bit late as I had already secured a new property, it says
                      "If you leave and your landlord has not served you notice then you would be wise to get in writing from her that she is releasing you from the tenancy as she could pursue you for rent if she does not get new tenants in time etc".
                      We checked with the estate agents that the deed would do just that and they said yes.
                      This part in it reassured us,
                      "Upon signing this deed of surrender and the performance of terms contained herein the tenancy agreement between the parties dated 13th November 2013 and everything contained within it shall cease and be void subject nevertheless to the right of the parties in respect of any antecedent breach of any of the covenants contained therein."

                      Surely all of that would help (as well as everything else I have proof of which the LL has no proof of anything) could help show we didn't wilfully leave and were just trying to cover ourselves?

                      She has accused my mum of being racist on Easter Saturday when they'd arranged the open house viewing without our knowledge too, but we have proof that didn't happen because I voice recorded the whole conversation from start to end. The only thing that was said was my mum telling LL that she needed to respect our rights and especially at a time such as then, when in our culture we celebrate Easter so obviously have a lot of family things going on. LL said she was visibly shaken by the comments ffs!
                      Like I said also, the amounts for certain works have also changed throughout and we were not given invoices/proper breakdown until after court proceedings.

                      This is so stressful but I do think the case could make an interesting read compared to all the cases I have read!


                        The black-and-white point being, that I'm trying to make, that you did wilfully leave. It was all done with a signature and an agreement created by that Deed of Surrender. I guess the Landlord has this signed document as proof. Therefore it's hard to see how it would be considered unlawful eviction. The Landlord didn't turf you out onto the road, change the locks and physically deny you access to the property (or your remaining belongings)... did they? That's what most people consider to be what you're talking about. The Deed of Surrender covers you both. You know you won't be asked for rent beyond that and the Landlord knows they've got you out of their property... legally, and by agreement. It's quid pro quo... it's eviction-by-agreement.

                        That is my understanding, anyway. I have not had to use one, so it's not like I have practical experience.

                        I don't think you can count on anything re. the DoS helping you, really, unless you were to claim you signed it under duress or, patently, didn't realise what you were signing... maybe. It doesn't, truly, seem that either of those was actually the case... you just thought you were doing the right thing to cover yourself, and - in a way - you were.

                        You obviously have a massive disagreement going on here, but it will be interesting to see what Friday brings.


                          I get you.
                          We have done unlawful eviction and harassment as one, and the harassment is obvious, so I'm hoping that from seeing everything that lead up to us signing the DoS that they may empathise and act accordingly with the bigger picture?


                            In hindsight I guess I should have written a letter just saying we will be out of the house x date with LL just agreeing or something instead of a DoS but obviously I had no idea it was such a silly thing to do


                              Don't beat yourself up about it... a letter saying you would be out of the house by x date is much the same in my eyes... you're leaving of your own volition, or under your own steam, along with all your belongings and you have somewhere else to go... even if you're doing all that unwillingly, it's still not the kind of scene I'd described before.

                              What will be will be... tell the truth, present the evidence you have, see what comes out of it, report back on Friday.


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