Do I have a case? AST, deposit protection and lodger.

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    Do I have a case? AST, deposit protection and lodger.

    Hello,

    I would like to know your opinion about this, that is, if I have a case or not. I will simplify as much as possible:

    I rented a room to one guy using SpareRoom.
    I stated clearly that I wanted an Assured Short-hold Tenancy agreement and my deposit protected.
    We signed the agreement, that says clearly AST (and that is the reason I signed it).

    After half year, I decided to go to another place. The last day there this guy told me that in 10 days I was going to receive my deposit because he had to recover it from the deposit protection scheme.

    During the next month I sent to him several reminders and he never replied. I also realised that my deposit was not protected (checking the 3 government websites), and not only that, I also realised that because we were living in the same flat, sharing bathroom and kitchen, perhaps the AST agreement (and deposit protection) could not be applied, because it seems I was a lodger or a subtenant from a legal point of view. I have to say that this guy was not the owner of the flat, just someone renting it to the owner, and my contract was with this guy, not the owner of the flat.


    After exactly one month, I started legal actions (letter before action). He gave me part of my deposit, but not all. Because I disagreed, using small claims in court (Form N1). I recover my entire deposit and all the 9 deductions were declared illegal (even he sent me false bills...).

    Using small claims in court was easy but very time consuming, specially in my case because English is not my main language and first time I have to go to the court. In time, probably I spent about £750 (I could not go to work 3 days because of this, and for the hearing I lost an entire day, given that there was a delay in court and I was literally 4 hours there waiting with this person in front of me).

    The thing is, in an actual AST I wouldn't have that economic loss, because the deposit is protected and solving disputes is basically sending an email with pictures and bills. And in the case it is not protected, then you have a compensation between 1 and 3 times the deposit.

    However, I couldn't use the first option, and I guess the second option was not possible.
    In the hearing the judge said to the defendant that the agreement he used was wrong (but was not important for the deductions and that hearing). I guess that for the judge, technically I was a lodger.

    So, given these facts, do you think I have the possibility to start another claim using fraud as a cause of action (Using Form N208)? Because he lied to me regarding the contract and the deposit protection, and the only reason I signed it was that. Because he committed fraud on purpose, I had an economic loss (in all the time I had to spend). Apart from that, I have evidences to prove this fraud in court.

    Do I have possibilities if I go to court again to recover the economic loss?

    Any suggestion is welcome, thanks a lot for your time, I appreciate it a lot.

    #2
    Im sorry but I don't think you have a chance at all. I would move on and forget.

    You got your deposit back and I'm assuming your court costs.

    I can't see there was any fraud either, he likely just labelled the agreement as an AST to appease you.

    He could easily say he made a mistake and you recognise yourself that you were always a lodger.

    You can call a spade a rake but it doesn't mean it becomes one or becomes fraud

    Comment


      #3
      You may have had a chance of claiming extra costs incurred as part of your claim but I don't see a case for any further claim.

      Comment


        #4
        Agee with above responses. You were a lodger of a tenant.

        Comment


          #5
          Likewise.

          You can't prove fraud because you (probably) can't prove intent. You wanted an AST, you were given an AST. He is not a professional landlord, how was he to know that you are not legally a tenant. People use wrong sorts of agreement all the time.

          You survived loss because he made invalid deductions. That has been settled through the court by your earlier case. Any loss of earning etc. from having to go to court are dealt with through cost as part of the case. Being a small claim, you were limited in what you can claim back as cost, but that's what parliament had decided is appropriate. You can't re-litigate the same issue already dealt with.
          I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

          I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for reply.

            I forgot to mention a couple of details:

            He tried to do exactly the same to one of my friends (we live in the same part of the city). In fact, he has a chat in spareroom where this guy wrote exactly what he told me regarding the deposit protection. So, given that I have this chat (evidence) and my friend (witness), I think I can prove it. I also can prove that he lied regarding his employer and income to the court, although in my claim I didn't mention that, as I thought it was not important.

            The thing is that this disgusting person is doing the same to other people. In fact, he only offers the room to people that is starting a new life here, and because of that, they don't know all the technical details. If I want to do something, it is not because of money.

            BTW, maybe there 2 other points I could use against him.

            This guy rented a 2 bedroom flat, but converted the living room in another room (paying the rent of just a 2 bedroom flat, so I bet the landlord is not aware of this). So, he lives in one room and lets the other 2 rooms to people using spareroom and airbnb. As far as I know, that is a HMO (at least 3 unrelated people). I guess the landlord, insurer, freeholder... don't know about this. And I guess maybe this is not legal according to the council. Any suggestion?

            Another point is that in the claim I carried out, he lied regarding his income (the income received from letting rooms). Should I inform HMRC? Maybe he is not declaring everything. Is this document enough to trigger an investigation? I am sure that in some way or another he is avoiding paying taxes.

            Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

            Comment


              #7
              You will find it difficult to make broadly the same claim against the same person again.
              Vexatious litigation is not allowed, and the landlord would probably be able to stop any further attempts to sue them.

              A tenant letting to two other people is an HMO and your local council housing department may indeed be interested if you report it to them.

              If you think tax isn't being paid, report that here https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/shortform...ww.hmrc.gov.uk
              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).

              Comment


                #8
                And in addition, why did he have to tell you his income? There was not any court order for him to make any payment?

                Landlords (of any sort) don't have to teach tenants the law. The laws are complex enough.

                You seem to have recovered all of your deposit so it is entirely unclear what you aim to achieve, or what loss you have experienced. Bringing (or intending to bring) a misguided court case is not a loss for which anyone else can be blamed.

                Yes people lie all the time. That is why we have contracts and a legal framework (disreputable as it is).

                Comment


                  #9
                  In the claim. He was ordered to fill a document about his income, employer, savings, expenses... I don't remember the form number, but it is in the small claims defendant response pack.

                  "Landlords (of any sort) don't have to teach tenants the law. The laws are complex enough. "
                  Landlord is selling a product or a service, he is doing business and he must know the law. Tenant is just buying a service or product, no need to know every single law detail.

                  "Yes people lie all the time. That is why we have contracts and a legal framework (disreputable as it is)."
                  And what is the point of having contracts if you lie writing them?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    In time, probably I spent about £750 (I could not go to work 3 days because of this, and for the hearing I lost an entire day, given that there was a delay in court and I was literally 4 hours there waiting with this person in front of me).
                    You have no claim. Costs should have been claimed in court at the time.

                    It's hard to understand why you couldn't go to work for 3 days because of this...

                    Move on.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks for replies.
                      I will not start any other legal action.
                      Although I will call the council and HMRC.

                      Thanks.

                      Comment

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