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Esio Trot

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Everything posted by Esio Trot

  1. It happened because the legislation refers to a "tenant" being entitled to start an action for non-protection of deposits. Once a tenancy is ended, then a tenant is de-facto no longer a tenant, therefore loses the entitlement to start an action.
  2. My, my, what a vitriolic response to my assertion. I am surprised that you should advise someone that a tenant, by avoiding signing a properly drawn-up inventory report, they then absolve themselves of their responsibilities to occupy the property in a tenant-like manner. Thankfully, life is not like this. A non-signed inventory can be just as admissible in court as a signed one - if appropriate procedures have been followed. It may be hard for you to accept this, but it is obdurate for you to maintain otherwise and might disadvantage someone if your view was not challenged. I have been involved in a number of cases which concerned an unsigned inventory but where there was other evidence of implied acceptance by the tenant. In all cases the inventory was held true and the tenant's defence lost. Lastly, without wishing to appear as a pendant, the last time I looked at the word "tennant" it was a well-known beer, and not one who rents premises and/or land.
  3. This statement is too dogmatic and simplistic. There is no requirement in law for a tenant to have signed an in-going inventory. Some tenants refuse outright to sign one, which thus could leave the landlord exposed. Many agents will use assumptive procedures to cover non-signed inventories. i.e. letters asking tenants to return a signed copy with any amendments - failing which the one originally supplied will be taken as true.
  4. There are some magic words you, or anyone, should use in any situation like this, or store detectives asking you to "return to the store". They are: "Am I under arrest?" Had you asked, then the situation would have been clear. If you were under arrest then the full protection of PACE would have been at your disposal; if not, then you were free to go. Not sure how you can follow this up, but it is worth a written complaint initially to see the company's response.
  5. Most interesting. I too noticed earlier this year the additional charges. I refused to pay, and walked down to my local station and paid the flat fare with no extras. As of this evening I have now also "un-subscribed" from their site. Does anyone know is there is any other on-line facility other than trainline that does routes and tickets?
  6. Bear in mind that there has been one case where a tenant, having vacated the property, tried to claim under TDS legislation. The case was lost as the judge ruled that the Housing Act speaks of a tenant bringing an action, and as the tenant had vacated they were no longer a tenant. Whether the above case is a correct interpretation of the law is not for discussion here. It is the mere fact that even a "sure" case can be lost in a court of law. Please take this into account when filing your claim.
  7. The thinking of the government was exactly this: To make the small minority of landlords who abused tenants deposits to act fairly. Trouble is, they get so tied up in rhetoric, they lose sight of the practicalities of what they want to introduce (And we have another fiasco with an 'option under consideration' of temporarily messing with stamp payments on property transactions). Cases have been won. You just need to be aware that there is always risk in taking legal action, and in the case of deposits greater risk purely as a consequence of the sloppy drafting of the enacting legislation.
  8. You can certainly make a claim - whether you will succeed is uncertain. There are cases that have been won, but there are two cases that relate to your circumstances that have been lost. The first was the Glastonbury one you commented on. As the deposit was "received" before 6 April 2007 the claim failed. The second was where a claim was made after vacating. The judge in this case ruled that as the claimant had vacated the property they were no longer a 'tenant' in relation to the deposit. As a claim can only be made by a tenant, the case was dismissed. Thus you can only pay the court fee and hope you get decision in your favour.
  9. Not at all! It would seem that the judge was dealing with the legislation as enacted, not what the government spiel was. The legislation regarding deposit protection is poorly drafted, and open to ambiguity. Until, and if, cases go to the appeals court, this ambiguity will continue making it a risk for any tenant wishing to take proceedings.
  10. Sometime around 1969 when I was 14 years old, I bought a pair of shoes from my hard-earned paper round money. A week later the sole stared coming away from the upper, and I had not misused them. I took them back to the shop asking for them to be replaced. Maybe because of my age, but I was given short shrift, and told to go away - I must have been climbing trees in them or something. I felt really miffed at this, and though it took some courage, I stood outside the shop with the shoes and just started to say out loud what a rubbish shop this was, the shoes were faulty and replacement was refused, to think carefully about shopping here, etc. I was outside for at least 10 minutes when suddenly the manager came out, invited me in and gave me replacements without further argument. At that tender age, it made me aware of the power of protest. Ever since then I have been a pain in the proverbial to all sorts of companies, public bodies and institutions. If the shop is in one of these modern Malls, then this is private property and protest can be easily stiffled by security staff insisting you leave the premises. Much better results when there is a high street entrance.
  11. To attend an Interview under Caution is a voluntary matter. For you to attend would cost you money, so I would write to them along these lines and say that you cannot afford to lose money. The purpose of the interview is to establish either intent or knowledge that you should have declared the change in circumstances. It is highly unlikely that court action will ensue unless the above is established. Wait for their reply. If they insist on an interview, offer to have it at your house on a Saturday or Sunday when you are not at work, or even an evening (when on your premises, the position of power is different - so they normally like to do the interview on their premises at a time of their choosing). AFAIK, not attending is not an arrestable offence. Obviously though, if you claim benefit again they will want to pursue this further.
  12. But that's the beauty of the English language, especially when reading legal quotations. When you have a person saying "I know I have a ticket, I just can't find it" whilst searching their pockets, in this scenario it would be impossible to prove any sort of wilfulness, even if you suspected it. Should legal proceedings ever take place over this issue, I'm sure the result would be not guilty, as it wouldn't be difficult to raise a reasonable doubt that the had been genuinely misplaced, was found in the end, and thus was not done to wilfully obstruct or impede.
  13. I do have to say that I find text speak in posts quite awkward to read. However, I persevered. I agree with you that a number of court staff are fairly lacking in courtesy and politeness - which as public servants, should not be the case. Having said this, the court service does have a pretty good complaints procedure. Ideally you need to know who it is you are talking too, so that if you are dissatisfied it is easier to name a name. As a general rule, whenever telephoning any public body, be it your local council, utilities or anyone, you should have a blank piece of paper in front of you, or a notebook. Invariably, when you telephone they are keen to establish who you are as a caller. Once they have done this, they normally invite you to state the problem or nature of the call. Do not do this yet, as you need to say something like (and this is a true recent précis of a call): "Now you have established who I am, before we go on, may I ask to whom I am speaking?" "It's John, sir" "Thank you Mr John, May I also ask for your first name?" "John is my first name." "Ah, I see. May I then ask for your surname?" "It's company policy that we don't give out our surnames." "How strange. Do you know of any reason for this?" "It's to do with harassment. If we give our full names it's easy for a caller to find out more about us and make trouble once we leave." "I see. But you know my full name, and no doubt your computer will give you my address and other personal details about me. May I ask if you are the only John that works for the company?" "I can't tell you that." "Well, I guess that there must be a couple of hundred of you in this call centre, and so the likelihood is that there is at least one other, and maybe even more. Would you agree?" "Well yes, probably." "How then might I know which John I am speaking to? After all, there must be occasions where you and others there give very good service, and the natural response would be for a customer to write a complimentary letter. But if they just know the name as 'John', how might your manager easily recognise who deserved praise?" "I still can't tell you my surname." "Well, what about, say, the first and last letter of your surname?" "Nope. That's part of my surname, and I'd be breaking the rules if I told you a part of it." "Well, once our conversation has finished, what if you needed to write to me. Would not your surname be on the letter?" "Yes. But that's different. It's not face-to-face and is allowed then." I was really getting into this by then. I then asked if he could tell me which desk he sat at, as this would help me identify him. Then I asked about his shift pattern and days worked. He refused in every case. In the end, I got him to volunteer his employee number, and we got on with the query I had. I did say to him that if he had given me this at the start, it would have saved quite some time. I freely admit to being a bit of an odd ball. But having been a public servant some decades ago, I still expect accountability from those I speak to. You will find though, once you know to whom you are speaking, the conversation does tend to be more polite and courteous than it otherwise would be.
  14. But this is precisely the area where the Housing Act is poorly drafted. In s213 it states: and then it says be dealt with in accordance with a scheme (No mention of 14 days here!) Just two clauses down it then changes to it goes on to give a time limit of 14 days from receipt. Therefore, would it not be possible for the agent, holding the deposit, and not passing it to the landlord to absolve the landlord under the 14 day rule. The landlord can say as his defence to any court action, "under s213(3) I have never received the deposit, and so I am not subject to the 14 day rule. Sue the person who received it (i.e. the agent) not me".
  15. I am not saying that I agree with the judge, but if you bear with me, I'll play devils advocate. Trouble is, and I was not specific enough, s214 of the Housing Act refers to "the tenant", not "a tenant". I would be difficult for anyone to bring concepts of general contract law into this poorly drafted legislation. As I said above, the Act writes about THE tenant, which is a specific person. Sadly, not so. The term "relevant person" is given a definition in s213(10), Thus as you will see, a relevant person cannot, according to the definition actually be the tenant, or even the ex-tenant. In a number of cases at the moment, the outcome differs from what this government intended. And whereas the intention of the government may be clear, the law as drafted does not reflect this. To quote Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist "If the law supposes that, the law is a ass—a idiot."
  16. Not quite correct. The DWP must "lay an information" into the magistrates court within six months of the offence. This could be just sketchy details, with the substantive allegation following later. There can be a delay of some months after the information was laid before the summons was issued. You need to find out when the information was laid before the magistrates.
  17. Our office has never to my knowledge ripped off any landlord. Should any overseas landlord insist on no expense without prior consent and only after three estimates have been obtained, I would agree this but my management fee would be increased to compensate for the extra work involved in this (how many times have you asked a contractor (or a few sometimes) for an estimate, and never got it even after reminders. Having said the above, round our way the agents commission structure for management seems to be the key decider, regardless of the service level offered. If you are cheap you get the instruction - if not, you don't. Thus many landlords, sadly, deserve to be ripped off. They have an asset worth six figures and they penny pinch on fees, not realising that being out of the country means they have to give a lot of trust to an agent. I am aware in our town of agents who sub-let; make fictitious invoices for non-existent repairs from a "contractor" who is in fact an associated company of the agent; and never inspect the property. One agent in the town has this clause in their standard terms (and this clause has been there since 2002 that I know of, and probably earlier than this) that has to be the most audacious I have ever seen: m) The Agent reserves the right to increase fees and/or commission from time to time without notifying the landlord in advance in writing. I can't see how any landlord would sign up to this. Yet this agent is ARLA registered and is the biggest in the town with over 1,300 managed properties.
  18. Every house survey I've seen has mulititudinal get outs like: "We were unable to gain access to the flat roof, and we recommend that the services of a reputable roofing contractor are engaged and a report obtained on this. "The gas central heating system was not examined, and we recommend that the services of a reputable gas engineer are engaged and a report obtained on this. "The electrical installation and appliances were not examined, and we recommend that the services of a reputable electrical engineer are engaged and a report obtained on this." I have seen eight of the above on one report, which made me think there was not much else to be surveyed.
  19. You are probably right, despite this being not what the government intended. The legislation is flawed, and until a case gets appealed to a higher court anyone taking a landlord to court where a) the deposit was paid before 6 April 2007 or b) the tenant has vacated the property so is no longer a "tenant" is taking a risk.
  20. There is legal precedent though that if the mortgage company have given permission for the owner to rent out the property, then they are beholden to the tenancy agreement. Thus you need to find out if they gave permission. You need to make direct contact with the mortgage company anyway (don't go through the agent - they may not act in your best interest) and see if they will accept rent payments direct. In this credit crunch times, with house prices dropping, if they evict you they might not be able to sell anyway. This may work in your favour as they then might be more amenable to receive rent direct. Correct. But whether this is worthwhile is debatable - owners in this situation often don't have any assets, so trying to get money even if you sue and win the case is not guaranteed (especially if the owner goes bankrupt)
  21. If your illness can be called a disability, then you may well have a good chance of avoiding eviction. Other than that, sounds like you have shot yourself in the foot as you didn't do what was asked (returned information). If you didn't have the information, you should have written in saying what was missing and that you are trying to sort it by doing x, y and z. That would have kept your claim open. Eviction is always the last resort. Most county courts have have a duty solicitor - so even before the hearing date, get along and see this person. They can give you specific advice and should be able to work on a plan to help you through this.
  22. I understand that last year, when the rules changed about allowing variable points for speeding, that they also allowed covert surveillance. Thus North Wales Constabulary now have a horse box that has no markings at all - but internally is fully equipped with speed detection devices.
  23. I think you are on a loser here - sounds like the landlord intends your stay to be as short as possible. Having said this, from what you have written, it does not appear that you have received either a s21 or s8 notice that is valid. Until you have received either of these, possession proceedings cannot be started. Having an electrical installation checked and obtaining a certificate is good practice, but the absence of one is not unlawful. If you have more than two months rent unpaid then you have no defence to a s8 notice: a possession order will be granted whenever there is a court hearing, if on this date there are still 2 months rent unpaid.
  24. If there were two months rent unpaid when the s8 notice was issued and also on the date of the hearing, a possession order must be granted unless the plaintiff (landlord) agrees otherwise. She needs the possession order, otherwise it means starting the whole thing again (unless, unusually, she goes for a "liberty to restore" type thing). However, she can agree to it being suspended. It is quite common for the tenant to agree that they will pay the rent on time in future, plus £x towards the arrears. If the tenant defaults on the suspended order, the landlord just need to ask the court to enforce the order, rather than starting again.
  25. Sounds like they are fishing, rather than having anything specific. I would be tempted to write a nebulous letter to them (but leave it a couple of weeks) "My son is away at present, and he has asked me to look after his affairs until his return, hence why I am responding on his behalf. "I have discussed this matter with my son, and he says that he has no recollection of this incident at all. "May I ask that you provide further details, plus any identifying information you might have that will help us assist you further." Or even better: "Thank you for your letter dated ... addressed to ...... "I am writing to tell you that he is away at present. I am due to speak to him by telephone before the end of this month and I will raise the matter with him then." You could then write back mid-August along the lines above asking for their assistance. In a nutshell, you need to make full use of time. On the assumption that they are fishing, they will need to see and interview your son to give substance to any potential misdemeanour he might allegedly have done. Then with six months of the offence they must lay an information before the magistrates court. If you make full use of time, then it is likely that they will be outside the six-month rule anyway (getting on for a couple of months has gone already!).
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