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  1. Thank you very much mariner51 and ericsbrother for your enlightened opinions; which in turn have enlightened me! I had been hugely troubled by the Judge's behaviour towards my partner and I. But having read your comments, I have to react differently to what happened. Besides, the Judge's comments does not alter my evidence which I feel is quite robust. Your comments have been extremely helpful because my thoughts had become transfixed in one place, but you have shifted my thinking to a more constructive way of looking at the situation. I cannot thank you enough. The hearing is going to take place hopefully, early next year since disclosure is now scheduled to happen in December 2016. As always, your help makes a difference to people like my partner and I, and many others who seek help from this community of kind-hearted people.
  2. Report back from the Court:- Thank you to all Members who contributed to this thread. I would not have got this far, nor would I have had the means to collate a competent case file and present get me to the present position. There are two cases which were rolled into one court sitting: (i) non-protection of deposit; (ii) disrepair (with a counterclaim by the LLs). Court proceedings 1. The Judge said that the 2-hour allocated for the two matters was not long enough. 2. He asked us to find some commonality between us, and decide an outcome outside of Court. We were asked to go away for an hour. 3. My partner and I found the defendants to be full of bravado, sarcasm and innuendo - despite our best efforts to engage, discussions were inconclusive. 4. We went back to the Judge's Chambers; the Judge said that he will use the remaining time to identify the issues so that he can draft directions. 5. The Judge spent over 1.5 hours going through the case files, and advising the defendants on what they should do. Other than the counterclaim, the defendants had not filed any defence whatsoever. 6. If the case had been heard on the day, the defendants had no defence on record. 7. The Judge gave the defendants generous timescales to file their defence, spelling out exactly how they should approach each item of contention. 8. The Judge was openly hostile to my partner and I, we kept our cool, kept quiet, listened and took notes. He behaved as if we were not there. 9. There is a Notice on the Court Notice Board "Court Staff cannot ......recommend a course of action" - but that's what happened exactly. In view of the fact that the defendants were given until the end of December 2016 to file a their defence, the cases will not be heard until 2017. In my opinion, had the hearing gone ahead that day, the LLs would have had no defence upon which to base their testimony. Therefore I feel that the 'pendulum' has very much been swung in favour of the defendants and the case management protocols & timeframes have been compromised. I would welcome and indeed would be grateful for your thoughts and suggestions on this situation, please. I confirm I have been factual with my observations as this is the only way I can expect to be helped in the same way that Members have helped me in the past. I thank you in advance.
  3. Thank you SabreSheep. Yes, I have thought about that - and I have decided that I will cross that bridge when I reach it. I have a house in another part of the country which I am currently renting out. So I can potentially give my tenants 2 months notice and move back into my house. I have spent a lot of time researching this topic and I have more or less drafted particulars of claim which I hope to file this week. Thank you once again SabreSheep.
  4. Thank you SabreSheep and Mariner51 - Please note that I am still occupying the property in question. The AST was agreed on 26/05/2011. Many thanks once again.
  5. Thank you Mariner51 for taking the trouble to read my post, and for getting back to me. I will answer your questions in the order in which they appear: (i) I sent the LL a 'letter before action' but did not achieve an outcome, instead the LL sent me an e-mail as follows (copied and pasted in red font below): WITHOUT PREDIJUCE I am not prepared to enter into your pettiness…clearly you have a lot of time on your hands hence the longpointless letter. Iwill not be replying to your letter unless there is something else wrong with the house youlive in. Yours faithfully (ii) I do not understand that 'double jeopardy' bit in your comments. I know what 'double jeopardy' means but I cannot follow the context in this case. (iii) I sourced the rental property following an advert put in the local paper by LL direct. (iv) I have checked with the deposit service providers, I never received the prescribed information, and finally, the LL has ignored my letter before action. (v) 3 - weeks is too long to go without heating and hot water for a property I am paying rent for. I happen to own a house which I am renting in another part of the country and my tenants are fully protected with 24/7 breakdown cover. I can never expect them to go for that length of time without central heating and hot water - I would be irresponsible if I did. My LL already knew that the boiler had seen better days, and was advised by two engineers on separate occasions to replace it. Her responses were partly putting the blame on me, and I have taken exception to that. (vi) I have never served a notice on the LL, except sending her the letter before action. (vii) Deposit and first month rent were given to the LL in cash a month before I took up occupancy of the property. I hope that clarifies the situation Mariner51. But please do not hesitate to ask me to clarify anything else. Many thanks once again.
  6. Background I posted the following before: Landlord is taking too long to restore heating in rented house [i would welcome some suggestions from Forum Members please as to what I should with regards to a landlord who is taking her time in restoring central heating in the house which I am renting. I have been without heating now for a week. Prior to this, the boiler had broken down a number of times and the landlord was told by two of the engineers that the boiler was obsolete and needed replacing. I have been in touch with the LL and made the point that the situation is becoming untenable, but all I got back was that she is dealing with the matter]. NB: The heating issue was resolved 3-weeks after I first reported it to the LL. I would be grateful for help/steer from Forum Members please in drafting particulars of claim in relation to unprotected deposit. The 14 days that I gave the LL to respond have lapsed. I am now have no choice but to seek redress in the courts in accordance with the legal provisions. But I have difficulty in constructing the particulars of claim, that is why I am seeking help from Forum Members please. Might any Forum Members be in a position to help me draft the particulars of claim please based on the following information: I paid the deposit into stages - on the date of the viewing (but I cannot remember this date, I have an undated receipt) I paid the LL £100, following which I paid the balance of £1250 on 26/05/11 which was inclusive of £625 rent for July 2011 (Summary breakdown: deposit - £725; July rent - £625). I have receipts for both payments. I moved into the property on 1 July 2011. I need to include the disrepair within the claim, perhaps under performance? Here is the content of the letter before action sent on Saturday 2 April 2016 by first class recorded post. This letter is modified from template which I found on the shelter website. I know that the letter was received and I have a copy of the signature which I obtained from the Royal Mail tracking website. I would be most grateful for any help you can offer with regards to framing the particulars of claim please. Letter before action (copy): LETTER BEFORE ACTION: FAILURE TO PROTECT MY TENANCY DEPOSIT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 213 OF THE HOUSING ACT 2004. As you are aware, I am under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (hereafter referred to as the Agreement) at your property located at the above mentioned address. I confirm we signed the Agreement on 26 May 2011 and I took occupancy of your property from 01 July 2011 to date. On 26 May 2011, I paid you £1250 and prior to this I paid you £100 - bringing the total amount paid to you to £1350, of which £625 was advance payment for July 2011 rent. This left the sum of £725 which you held back as deposit. I confirm that I took up the tenancy from 26 June 2011, but physically moved into the property on 1 July 2011. Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004 requires that you protect my deposit with a government-backed scheme within 30 days of the payment of my deposit. You are also required to provide me with details of the scheme you have used along with certain prescribed information. It appears to me that you have failed to: (a) protect my deposit with a government-backed scheme. (b) protect my deposit within the requisite 30 days of the payment of my deposit. © provide me with the prescribed information about the tenancy deposit scheme you used, within the required 30 days of the payment of my deposit. Section 214 of the Housing Act 2004 provides that, where the court is satisfied that you failed to comply with your obligations under the law relating to tenancy deposit protection, it must order that you pay me up to three times the amount of the deposit paid. I will also be asking the court to order that you pay my deposit into a custodial tenancy deposit protection scheme. I hope it is not unreasonable to let you know that I am open to reasonable offers in order to settle this matter. If I do not receive payment of an agreed amount being the penalty for failing to comply with your legal obligations or a substantial response from you by 21 April 2016, I will issue Court proceedings in the County Court without further notice or delay. I will also be asking for an order to cover my costs, in accordance with Court rules and regulations. I will be relying on the Court’s Civil Procedure Rules Practice Direction: Pre-action Conduct. I therefore draw your attention to paragraph 13 concerning the Court's powers to impose sanctions for failure to comply with the Practice Directions, and inform you that ignoring this letter before action may increase your liability for costs. Disrepair and non-compliance with gas safety requirements I have previously raised the issue of boiler maintenance, noting that the boiler has not been subject to any annual maintenance and certification as required by law. As you are clearly showing no interest in remedying the situation to which I have previously drawn your attention on several occasions, I have no choice but to seek advice from the Council. Please note: (a) Since the boiler broke down, we have endured cold conditions in the house which caused a physical interference with our enjoyment of the property or with our ordinary and lawful enjoyment of the premises. (b) I have previously made you aware that the boiler was ‘condemned’ on 24 March 2016 due to the danger of carbon monoxide emission which is potentially a lethal situation. We have been without heating for just over a week to date. © The boiler was operating without a gas safety certificate for a number of years when it was your obligation to ensure that a safety check was under taken annually. (d) No annual gas safety checks were carried out to make sure gas installations in the property were operating safely and that we were living in a safe environment. (e) No landlord gas safety certificates have been provided to me as the tenant, contrary to the legal requirements. (f) The boiler, which was an obsolete model, broke down on numerous occasions. (g) You seemed unconcerned and instead, you focused your attention on how much the previous repair cost you. (h) The boiler operated poorly which affected the heat distribution in the house, causing areas around the windows to be affected by severe mould. (i) I did not receive any records for electrical safety in the house. (j) I was not provided with an energy performance certificate at the commencement of the tenancy. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely
  7. I would welcome some suggestions from Forum Members please as to what I should with regards to a landlord who is taking her time in restoring central heating in the house which I am renting. I have been without heating now for a week. Prior to this, the boiler had broken down a number of times and the landlord was told by two of the engineers that the boiler was obsolete and needed replacing. I have been in touch with the LL and made the point that the situation is becoming untenable, but all I got back was that she is dealing with the matter. I would be grateful for some suggestions about what options are available to me so that I can use some leverage to get the LL to act and act urgently? I hope members can help. Many thanks in advance. Mack
  8. Thank you very much Mariner51 and I am sorry for the delayed expression of gratitude which has been due to a family bereavement. I have now paid the money to A's parents who were her Guarantors (as she was 17 at the time) - they have since banked the cheque. I now await B to execute their threat for taking me to Court for non-protection of deposit which presumably they never paid, assuming that A's parents' acceptance of the money which they had paid on behalf of their daughter had never been paid back to them by tenants B (as claimed by B earlier). If there are any further developments and I need help, I'll certainly get back to you Mariner51. Thank you for your time and comments once again.
  9. Thank you Raydetinu. Just for clarification, the deposit was protected before the S21 Notice but well after the 3-day period had lapsed. The Repossession Order was issued as a result. Tenants' 'B's argument is that the deposit was not protected within the 30-day window - although they never provided me with notification that they had in turn, paid tenant (a cousin of theirs) the deposit which they are now claiming that it was theirs.
  10. Thank you all - Stu007; Steve_M; Mariner51; Raydetuni: Just to touch on some queries for clarification starting with Stu007's queries:- (1) I protected the deposit into a TDS scheme before service of a S21 Notice and Repossession Order was issued on that basis; (2) I have not informed the TDS of the dispute as the tenants have since left and made no representations as regards the deposit; (3) The tenant eventually abandoned the property so the exact date of departure is unknown but the Repossession Order stipulated 26 February 2014 as the eviction date. (4) You are right, there was no check in / check out inventory (all based on friendly neighbourly fashion, a huge mistake on my part. I have cut my losses on the inventory aspect. Steve_M:- I intend to counterclaim for the rent arrears. I have evidence of non payment of rent as the tenants cleared stated so in various e-mails. As regards realistic prospects for getting the money back, it doesn't look likely because, since the tenant's departure - there have been three bailiffs looking for the former tenants. Cavity wall is already in place. Mariner51 - "...Return deposit amount, as cheque payable to T A's parents, get a dated receipt, or they can hand it back to you for T B's deposit ..." Thank you for this - especially in the absence of any confirmation that ex-tenants ('B') paid ex-tenant's ('A's) parents to allow roll-over of deposit. So yes, I will send a cheque to 'A's parents first thing tomorrow and see how things go. On that note Mariner51, does the fact that 'A' was aged 17 play a part in terms of signing a contract? A's parents were the gurantors, does that follow that my contract was with them although they did not live in the rented house. Where does this leave tenants 'B' who are now claiming that the deposit was theirs? Raydetinu alludes to this point below. - Does the fact that the Court issued a possession Order based on the Section 21 Notice destroy the tenants' argument that their deposit was not protected within the requisite 30 - days?
  11. Thank you Stu007 for taking the trouble to read my post. 1. Yes, there was an AST for 'B'; 2. 'B's parents are not named on the AST, only 'A's parents who paid the surety which is assumed to have rolled over into 'B's contract. 3. 'B's deposit was deposited into a scheme long after the their AST commenced but within days after they finally confirmed that they had paid 'A's parents the £575 (which they had paid at the beginning of 'A's contract (NB was 17 - years old at time of signing AST; I foolishly didn't protect her deposit through lack of proper research on my part). I hope I've shed light on your queries Stu007.
  12. Dear Members I am an incidental landlord having lost my job and forced to relocate to an alternative location for a job. Unfortunately, I foolishly and naively did not do adequate research when renting out my house to a neighbour's close relative. As a result, I did not protect the tenant's deposit - I provide a chronology below. A catastrophic falling out, followed by non-payment of rent forced me to seek repossession under S21. I successfully obtained an Eviction Order as a direct outcome from the help I got from you! I would be grateful for your thoughts, views and suggestions. The matter I have set out below is a result of my own naivety and foolishness having not done my research properly as an amateur and accidental landlord: Issues :- (i) Is the former tenant right in asking for the return of the deposit even though it was paid by a party unrelated to the contract over a year before the commencement of the tenancy agreement in question? (ii) Are there certain legal arguments that might be of material relevance to my dispute with the tenant – for or against/ Facts of matter / chronology I became an accidental landlord when I lost my, and I was forced to leave the 3 - bedroomed home and relocate to a new job some four hours’ drive away. I put my house up for renting. My neighbour’s two granddaughters took up tenancy (AST) in my house consecutively following heart felt pleas from my neighbour of 15 – years. (i) The first granddaughter (A) was aged 17 and a teenage mother. Her parents were guarantors and provided the surety / deposit on 29/08/11. I did not protect the deposit purely out of ignorance and foolishness on my part. I did not do my research well. (ii) The neighbour approached me again in 2012; saying that ‘A’ had turned 18 was now ready to move out to smaller accommodation. (iii) The neighbour asked me if I would be agreeable to an arrangement where another granddaughter (B) and her family would move into the house as a straight swap between the two cousins (A and B). There was an unspoken and unwritten assumption that ‘A’s deposit would be rolled over to the second B’s tenancy. (iv) The house swap between A and B happened in October 2012 when B’s family took occupancy of my house. I never communicated with ‘A’ and ‘B’ directly – but always through their grandmother, my neighbour. (v) However, around July 2013, B contacted me directly and asked me to allow her mother to move in with her for 3-months; this was my first direct contact with the tenant. (vi) In August, the tenants (B) asked to agree to having cavity wall insulation installed using their state benefit status in return for a reduction in rent, I refused and relations pretty much soared bitterly thereafter following rude e-mails from B. (vii) Some 4 – months after the end of the initial 6-month contractual period, B brought up the ‘deposit scheme’ issue saying that this had not been deposited within the 30-day window. I asked ‘B’ to confirm in writing that they had paid ‘A’ her deposit which they did. I immediately protected the deposit and served the prescribed information on ‘B’ but they refused to counter sign the deposit scheme certificate. (viii) I served a Section 21 Notice to quit which went undefended, leading to the issue of an Eviction Order. (ix) The tenants eventually abandoned the property, leaving a trail of damage and destruction and £1830 in unpaid rent. They left bulky items and abandoned furniture items. (x) The tenants are now seeking redress for unprotected deposit and have issued a letter before action demanding £575 If I were to send a cheque for the asked for money 'in full and final settlement' - does Members please advise me on any further wording I might need to add to the cover letter in order to protect myslef? I thank you in advance.
  13. Hi Andy - thank you very much one again Andy, and I've added a reputation star too. The Claim is through MCOL. In a nutshell, the claim is purely for my out of pocket expenses. My rationale was to aim for the Smalls Claims court for an amount just under £1k being the costs for alternative accomodation which means I paid two lots of rent; paid Solicitor who advised that there was no breach of tenancy agreement as alleged by LL, and incidentalls - all coming to just under £1k. I'm alleging that but for the fact that the LL wrongly alleged me of a breach of agreement, I would not have needed to seek legal help. Not sure what a part 8 is Andy, but I hope you get the gist of what I'm claiming. I'm using the harassment as the LL's motivation to get us out of the property but also showing that the LL breached statutory provisions, and hopefully leave it to the Judge to make a determination.
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