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Glitter
18-03-2006, 10:41 AM
Hi,
I wonder if anyone could give me some advise. I am going to court for a months rent that I haven't paid (which I have agreed to pay in installments), and some supposed damages amounting to £200 (which I am fully defending). I went to see a solicitor for advise, but he walked me out of the room before I could even get my coat back on. He said that because the claim is for less than £1,000 then I can't get Legal Aid. Is this correct? Also, I'm not sure who can be a witness for me. All the witnesses are relatives of mine, or friends. Is this allowed? Or do witnesses have to be someone other than friends or relatives? I have also had many threatening letters from the Claimants solicitor, one after the allocation questionaires have been sent out (I don't see the point in threatening me when it's definately going to court). I feel they are trying to intimidate me in the hope that I'll pay up (which I can't afford to do anyway). I will have to go to court on my own and I'm a bit worried that I will be verbally attacked by the Claimants solicitor (due to the threatening tone of his letters). I'm not the most confident person in the world, and I've never experienced anything like this before. I'm worried that I'll get overwhelmed and not be able to get my words out!

I would be gratefull for any advise. Thanks.

Worldlife
18-03-2006, 12:37 PM
Were the rent arrears and damages subject of one claim only?

What are the extent of the rent arrears and how long did they remain unpaid? In a recent case the Judge made a pointed remark to a tenant who only admitted arrears after proceedings were initiated and then deferred the Court hearing for several months. As Landlord I was entitled to interest on the rent arrears at the Court rate of 8% per annum.

Have you admitted the rent arrears in your response to Court and has your offer to pay by instalments been put to the Court and accepted by the landlord's solicitor?

Has the Landlord detailed the £200 and can you give some indication as to what is being disputed?

Are you denying the damages absolutely or that the charges are too high?

When were the alleged damages pointed out to you?

What is the situation concerning the Court fees? Have you agreed to pay them as part of the rental settlement?

If the issue goes to Court and should it be worth the time of a solicitor for a debt of £200 then that solicitor will not be allowed to bully a litigant in person.

The Judge may, in a neutral way, ask you for the information he needs to help decide the case. I'm sad to say that if you cannot answer questions clearly and to the point the case could go against you.

Glitter
18-03-2006, 18:20 PM
Were the rent arrears and damages subject of one claim only?

Yes.

What are the extent of the rent arrears and how long did they remain unpaid?

I lived there for one month on the understanding that there would be a contract to sign, but she didn't produce one. After the landlady was verbally abusive towards me I felt very uncomfortable living there, and moved out immedietly. The rent was paid up to date. She then persued me for a further months rent as she said I didn't give 1 months notice (which I didn't). At the time I thought you only had to give notice if you'd signed a contract, but now I am told that I did have to give notice.

Have you admitted the rent arrears in your response to Court and has your offer to pay by instalments been put to the Court and accepted by the landlord's solicitor?

Yes, I admitted the months rent and put it to the court that I could pay in instalments. This was in my 'response pack'. But the offer to pay in instalments must have been rejected as I have been sent my allocation questionairre.

Has the Landlord detailed the £200 and can you give some indication as to what is being disputed?

It was understood between the landlady and myself that the house would be completely redecorated before I moved in. It wasn't. Infact the painter was using the living room to store his paints. He'd managed to get three rooms painted, and in order that I could get moved in she agreed that I would paint the remainder of the house myself. So I painted three rooms. She is claiming that by painting these rooms I damaged them, and she had to spend £200 to get them re-painted. She has a number of photographs. One shows where I hadn't painted behind a curtain rail (I didn't have the nessesary tools to remove it). Another shows some white pollyfilla smeared all over a wooden window frame, which she is claiming is white paint that I smeared onto it! This pollyfilla was there when I moved in.

Are you denying the damages absolutely or that the charges are too high?

I am denying them absolutely.

When were the alleged damages pointed out to you?

About a month after I had moved out. She also has an e-mail from the previous tenants (whom she had told me was her brother-in-law and not an official tenant), saying that the house was immaculate when they left it. This is completely untrue, not only was it undecorated but it was full of old furniture in disrepair, which I had to remove myself in the end.

What is the situation concerning the Court fees? Have you agreed to pay them as part of the rental settlement?

Their solicitor is claiming for court fess and for solicitors costs, I agreed to pay the part-admission, but I didn't know whether I had to pay all the other costs or not.

If the issue goes to Court and should it be worth the time of a solicitor for a debt of £200 then that solicitor will not be allowed to bully a litigant in person.

I am presuming that it is going to court since I have been sent my allocation questionairre.

The Judge may, in a neutral way, ask you for the information he needs to help decide the case. I'm sad to say that if you cannot answer questions clearly and to the point the case could go against you.

I have written a detailed defence, which I sent to the court with my response pack. She also has an invoice for the painting that was done. It is done on a computer, and doesn't even make sense. Its not an official invoice, it looks like she did it herself and got the painter to sign it.

caroline7758
18-03-2006, 18:28 PM
I'd advise you to go to your local Citizens Advice Bureau- they won't be able to give you legal advice, but will probably be able to recommend a solicitor who could give you some free advice.

Glitter
18-03-2006, 18:49 PM
Thanks, but I did go to see them. They phoned up a solicitor whilst I was there, but it was difficult to communicate as he didn't want to talk to me. He just asked the advisor questions over the phone, who would then ask me and relay back to him. They said I may get legal aid, and to look in the yellow pages. I only found one solicitor in my area who took on Legal Aid. Only to be told at the appointment that he couldn't help because it was for less than £1,000, and like I mentioned previously he couldn't get me out of the door quick enough!

RichieP
18-03-2006, 19:16 PM
Did you sign aninventory when you moved in? If ot, it's going to be difficult for her to prove anything.

Glitter
18-03-2006, 20:03 PM
No, nothing was signed.

RichieP
18-03-2006, 20:36 PM
She's going to have a hard case proving anything then.

pms
18-03-2006, 21:28 PM
I have written a detailed defence, which I sent to the court with my response pack. She also has an invoice for the painting that was done. It is done on a computer, and doesn't even make sense. Its not an official invoice, it looks like she did it herself and got the painter to sign it.

Just take him for disrepair(s11 landlord & tenant act(1985).Im SURE you will find something that needs repairing which falls within your tenancy agreement. Good COUNTERCLAIM for pocession.

Worldlife
19-03-2006, 05:39 AM
Just take him for disrepair(s11 landlord & tenant act(1985).Im SURE you will find something that needs repairing which falls within your tenancy agreement. Good COUNTERCLAIM for pocession.

As far as I can see there is no claim here for possession


by GlitterI lived there for one month on the understanding that there would be a contract to sign, but she didn't produce one. After the landlady was verbally abusive towards me I felt very uncomfortable living there, and moved out immedietly. The rent was paid up to date. She then persued me for a further months rent as she said I didn't give 1 months notice (which I didn't). At the time I thought you only had to give notice if you'd signed a contract, but now I am told that I did have to give notice.

@Glitter - thanks for answering my previous queries in full. If you help the Court in the same way I'm sure things will not be as bad as you are anticipating.

Could you confirm that your tenancy related to a self-contained six room dwelling and that the landlord was not resident on the property.

Am I correct in thinking that no deposit was required or paid? It appears that you paid one month's rent in advance and the rental claim is for failure to give sufficient notice.

I understand that in the absence of a tenancy agreement your occupation became an AST. (Hope others will correct if I am wrong!)

In taking on the painting job did the landlord ask you about your experience in home decoration? If she didn't that will be a black mark against her. If you did a reasonable job as a reasonable DIY person I'm wondering if it is inappropriate to demand professional standards of work - particularly as the task was (presumably) undertaken by you free of labour costs. Hey maybe you could put your estimated labour time to balance the cost of the alleged corrective works!

Did the landlord visit at any time whilst you were redecorating (perhaps she should have done to check progress and quality) and were any comments made concerning your efforts?

Glitter
19-03-2006, 18:55 PM
Thanks for all your help!

Yes, it was a self-contained, six room dwelling and the landlady was not resident. The dwelling was attached to her cafe, and she lived directly behind in a seperate building.

-Am I correct in thinking that no deposit was required or paid? It appears that you paid one month's rent in advance and the rental claim is for failure to give sufficient notice.

Yes, this is correct. Although, before I moved in it was agreed there would be no deposit to pay, and after I had moved in she approached me in an agressive manner and demanded a £500 bond, which I didn't pay.

I believe that I did a great job of the redecorating! She didn't ask me about my experience, and I undertook the job free of charge, (which I did on the understanding that there was no bond to pay, and as I mentioned before, she demanded a bond after I had done all the work). In my response pack I put in a counterclaim for material costs.

-Did the landlord visit at any time whilst you were redecorating (perhaps she should have done to check progress and quality) and were any comments made concerning your efforts?

Yes, she did visit, but didn't make any comments.