Firstly, I hope I have posted in the correct place.
Any help on this would be very much appreciated. So I rented a room in the landlords home as a lodger and paid a sum of £600 as a deposit. On leaving the house the landlord stopped returning my calls, answering my texts etc in regards getting the deposit back. For about every 10 messages I got like 1 response saying "I'll call you later" etc, but never called.
This has been ongoing for about a year now, and during the course of the year the landlord admitted they owed me the money and sometimes offered to pay but never did. I sent letters before action and formal requests for the return of the deposit in the post. Still nothing.
In November the landlord asked me if we could do a payment plan of £100 a month which I agreed to. The landlord missed the first installment date so I initiated a claim using MCOL in the small claims court. They messaged me asking why I had done this as we had an agreement and I stated they had missed the payment date so was now using MCOL to recover the money (I am claiming £600 for the deposit, £60 court fees and about £40 for interest).
I sent a letter and email to the landlord stating that should they wish for me to withdraw the claim I would accept £660 (deposit+court fees) - but they didn't respond. They then submitted an acknowledgement of service and stated they were going to defend all of the claim.
They have until Saturday (10/2/18) to file a defense however they haven't yet done so. On Thursday (08/02/18) they sent me an email in response to mine I sent them in which I stated i'd accept £660 and withdraw the claim. They put at the top of the email "Without Prejudice" and then wrote how they will offer me £600 in total, with £200 payable on 28th Feb and £400 on 30th March. They have fully admitted in the email again that they owe me the money. I have a few concerns:
1. I will only accept £660 minimum outside of court - and seeing that the email says "Without Prejudice" if I accepted then I could only claim a max of £600;
2. The "Without Prejudice" means that this isn't admissable in court meaning that if they don't keep to the agreement I wouldn't have any come back, correct?;
3. If I agree and they initially pay the £200 but not the remaining £400 I could only claim for this amount in future, meaning that I could not longer use HCEO to pursue the amount owed if they don't pay.
I want to reply to the Landlord stating I do not wish to accept their payment plan offer. If i put in the reply I would accept £660 to withdraw the claim as per my previous email and letter, then if this proceeded to court would this mean the maximum I could claim would be £660 as I stated this in response to their "without prejudice" offer.
I don't want to accept their offer because I will be out of pocket on the court fees and I genuinely don't think they'll stick to it as they have bailed out on informal agreements before and never paid.
How do you think I should respond to this?
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!