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help council taking me to court rent old debt


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I have been given a court summons for old rent on a council property ( I left in mar 2003) although they are charging me rent in the summons until sep 2003?

Basically I started the tenancy at aged 16, didn’t really look at what I was signing I was just delighted I was getting my own flat! Anyways I had no guarantor who signed on my behalf, I just signed for my keys and that was it, everything was great until I decided to move out, I told my housing officer who wrote a reference for my new private landlord and moved out of the old and into the new in march 2003, popped they keys through the councils door, called up council tax and paid off my old flat council tax and told them my new flat details and paid that coucil tax and stupidly thought that was that. 3 months later I get a letter to my new home saying I had an eviction order on my old flat, I called the council to explain that the flat was empty, I left in march and they knew I moved and check council tax records etc etc and heard nothing until last year they chase me for rent from march-sep 2003 when I didn’t live there, it was empty.

They say I had to sign a form to end my tenancy but I was unaware of this as I was so young when I got the flat, and no garentor present to sign on my behalf, I thought when I got the reference letter from the council and when I informed council tax that they would have known id moved?

Now ive go the summonds:mad:

Pleeease help should I defend or just pay?

I don’t want this to affect my credit rating will this go on my file?

Statement of claim

1.The persuares are a local authority constituted by and acting under the local government (Scotland) act 1994 they are the housing authority……………………………………. In particular the persuares are the owners and landlords of the dwelling house known as “the place I used to stay” the defender now resides at “my new address” and has lived there for three months immediately preceding the raising of this action. She is domiciled there and this court accordingly has jurisdiction.

2.to the knowledge of persuaers no proceedings are pending before any other court involving the present cause of action and between the parties hereto nor does any agreement exsist between the parties prorogation jurisdiction over the subject matter of the present cause to another court.

3. by lease between the parties hereto the said dwelling house was formally let to the defender on certain terms and conditions including inter alia payment of rent the defendant has failed to pay the persuers the sum of £1491.12 being rent due by the defender to the persuers in respect of the said dwelling house for the period from3rd july 1996 and 9th September 2003. a copy of the said lease wll be produced and is refered to for its terms which are held as incorporated herein brevitatis causa £1491.12 is accordingly the sum sued for.

4. the defender has been called upon to make payment of the sum sued but refuses or at least delays to do so and this action is accordingly necessary.

Any help id be really grateful, i have a copy of the persuaders reference to my new landlord telling them I was an excellent tenant if this helps?

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Unfortunatley just popping the keys througth the door wouldn't end you tenancy.

 

the poc's are stating that even if you did leave in march 2003 they were still arrears to be paid prior to this.

 

Ida x

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How was the claim served on you?

HAVE YOU BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY BY CREDITORS OR DCA's?

 

BEWARE OF CLAIMS MANAGEMENT COMPANIES OFFERING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS.

 

 

Please note opinions given by rory32 are offered informally as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991

 

1 Age of legal capacity

 

(1) As from the commencement of this Act—

(a) a person under the age of 16 years shall, subject to section 2 below, have no legal capacity to enter into any transaction;

(b) a person of or over the age of 16 years shall have legal capacity to enter into any transaction.

HAVE YOU BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY BY CREDITORS OR DCA's?

 

BEWARE OF CLAIMS MANAGEMENT COMPANIES OFFERING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS.

 

 

Please note opinions given by rory32 are offered informally as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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What council is it you owe the rent to and have you tried to enter into an arrangement to make payments?

 

This debt would of went into the former tenants arrears account and they are usually quite reasonable to deal with.

 

Dependant on your circumstances just now ie working or on benefits you can enter into an arrangement for as little as £3 odds per week which I know is quite a lot if you are on benefits but as long as you keep up the payments I don't think you should have any more problems.

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Provided the law is the same in Scotland, by way of you handing the keys back, it could be argued that you had surrendered your tenancy.

 

You need to go to the Council and see if the old housing officer still works there, otherwise make SAR to see your file, if they can't work out what has happened, looks like you shall have to do it for them!

 

Ask the Council tax office for records that they hold also, because this will clearly show your payments and notes of telephone conversations and at some stage you must have said "I am leaving....! and this will be my new address!" If they take you to court and yu enter your defence, then they will have to produce documents such as this to prove their case.

 

But as i say, check first as I know nothing about Scottish law, but I'm sure you have Shelter up there, and they will help you with this for free.

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Unfortunatley just popping the keys througth the door wouldn't end you tenancy.

 

the poc's are stating that even if you did leave in march 2003 they were still arrears to be paid prior to this.

 

Ida x

 

hello thanks for your reply. no there were no arrears pruior to leaveing atall. the arrears they are claiming is from the date i left:(

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This debt would of went into the former tenants arrears account and they are usually quite reasonable to deal with.

 

Dependant on your circumstances just now ie working or on benefits you can enter into an arrangement for as little as £3 odds per week which I know is quite a lot if you are on benefits but as long as you keep up the payments I don't think you should have any more problems.

 

but will this show as a default on my credit report if i make arangement to pay? i dont want anything to show on my report. i could manage to scrape together the money to pay it all, but im not on a high income and i am finding things a bit tough at the moment. its not on my report at the moment, i thought i could defend my case and if the judge went in there favour then just pay, but from what your all saying it looks like it wont go in my favouranyway. i do have the councils copy of written reference from 2 weeks before i moved out and i also have the council tax records to prove i wasnt there.

 

if i offer to pay them say £20 a month will this show on my report? do i need to do a means test form to do this? is there no point i fileing a defence?

i realy apprehiate your help x

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Provided the law is the same in Scotland, by way of you handing the keys back, it could be argued that you had surrendered your tenancy.

 

You need to go to the Council and see if the old housing officer still works there, otherwise make SAR to see your file, if they can't work out what has happened, looks like you shall have to do it for them!

 

Ask the Council tax office for records that they hold also, because this will clearly show your payments and notes of telephone conversations and at some stage you must have said "I am leaving....! and this will be my new address!" If they take you to court and yu enter your defence, then they will have to produce documents such as this to prove their case.

 

But as i say, check first as I know nothing about Scottish law, but I'm sure you have Shelter up there, and they will help you with this for free.

 

hello jakieandwayne thanks for taking the time to help! i had tried to sort it out with the council prior to court action, i wrote a prove it type letter asking for proof of my lease signing etc (which they provided) i even asked a solicitor to write a letter who advised me to not admit liability but suggested a token payment of £500 in full and final settlement but the council refused the payment and demanded in full.:mad:

 

I will goto council tax tomorow and ask for a full payment history with dates and addresses. im just not sure what to write to file my defence. i was going to include a copy of the reference letter dated and signed the month i moved out by the council, i was also going to give a copy of council tax reccords. but im just not sure how to file the defence, if i lost my defence would i need to pay in full to avoid a ccj?

 

thanks everyone for all help x

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if i lost my defence would i need to pay in full to avoid a ccj?
If you lost you would need to pay the decree within one month of judgement being granted against you to avoid the decree showing on your credit file. You would need to pay their costs as well as the amount claimed. Costs should be limited to 150 quid.

HAVE YOU BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY BY CREDITORS OR DCA's?

 

BEWARE OF CLAIMS MANAGEMENT COMPANIES OFFERING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS.

 

 

Please note opinions given by rory32 are offered informally as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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If you lost you would need to pay the decree within one month of judgement being granted against you to avoid the decree showing on your credit file. You would need to pay their costs as well as the amount claimed. Costs should be limited to 150 quid.

 

thankyou for the information i think i will file a defence, does anyone have any suggestions on how to word it ? i know what i want to say but dont know how to word it

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It may, even at this late stage, be worthwhile contacting the council and see if you can negotiate with them. The problem is that under a Scottish secure tenancy agreement (which is the type of tenancy you entered into) you must give 4 weeks notice in writing under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.

 

A Scottish secure tenancy can only be ended in any one of the following ways:

1. By Notice

You give at least twenty-eight days notice. You must inform them at the same time if you are married or if you live in the house with another person as husband and wife. If you do, their agreement may also be required.

 

2. By Written Agreement

By written agreement between you and them. You must tell them at the same time if you are married or if you live in the house with another person as husband and wife. If you do, their agreement may also be required.

 

3. By Court Order

The sheriff grants an order for eviction following a request by the landlord.

 

4. By Abandonment by you.

The landlord has reasonable grounds for believing that you have abandoned the house. In this case, they may forcibly enter the house to make it secure. They will also give you at least four weeks’ notice that they believe that you have abandoned the house. If at the end of that period they have reasonable grounds for believing that you have abandoned the house, they may repossess it by service of another notice.

 

5. By Death.

 

6. By Sale to You.

 

7. By conversion to a short Scottish secure tenancy.

 

8. Abandonment by a joint tenant.

 

9. Termination by joint tenant alone.

 

I think you should familiarise yourself with Part 2 Chapter 1 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 here before continuing.

HAVE YOU BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY BY CREDITORS OR DCA's?

 

BEWARE OF CLAIMS MANAGEMENT COMPANIES OFFERING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS.

 

 

Please note opinions given by rory32 are offered informally as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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Hi summertime2009,

 

I'm afraid you need to give 28 days notice in writing to end your tenancy with a council in Scotland. If you said verbally that you were giving up the tenancy this would not be enough.

 

Have you checked that they did receive the keys you put through their door. If they had then the onus may have been on them to try and contact you to see why you had returned the keys IF you had an address tag on them or they were in an envelope with the address on. If they just received a set of keys through the door they would not have known what property they were for.

 

If you left in March and they did not know the property may have been empty for a while before it came to their attention and then they would be required to serve a Section 28 abandonment notice on the property and if you did not contact after the 28 days they would lock change the property on the 29th day whic would of ended your tenancy that day.

 

What I think has happened is you asked for a reference which they gave you. You said that you would be moving out but did not put this in writing. They received the keys but did not know what property they were for. After a while it came to their attention that the property was not being used. A section 28 was served and they took the tenancy back. The rent owed gets put to former tenant arrears and they have managed to track you down now. The amount of arrears sounds about right as they would be claiming from March to Sept which is roughly 28 weeks at say £50 per week rent.

 

One thing I am not sure about is why it would of taken them 5 months to find out the house was empty.

 

You will probably be charged the councils court expenses which I think would be in the region of £250 from what I remember. As for going on your credit report I am not too sure. Phone and ask them if this is the case.

 

I'm sorry it's all bad news but the main point is you did not give notice in writing. If I were you I would contact the council and try and enter into an arrangement to pay off the arrears. You mentioned £20 a month I think they would probably accept this. They may try and get you to pay more but if thats all you can comfortably afford then stick to it. They would snatch your hand off if you offered a small lump sum then the £20 per month. Thios would also be in your favour when it goes to court.

 

As far as I am aware if this works the same way as a current tenancy being taken to court your case would be sisted when it is heard and put on hold for 3 months or so. If after the 3 months you were keeping up the arrangement the case would be dismissed and you may even not be charged the court expenses.

 

I hope I have been quite clear as I tend to haver on a bit. If there is anything else you want to know just ask and If I can I'll try and answer it. Also if anybody else thinks I'm wrong in anything I've said please post this and I will check.

 

Hope this helps.

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You will probably be charged the councils court expenses which I think would be in the region of £250 from what I remember.
Claims between £200 and £1500 are normally limited to a maximum of £150 as court expenses. For claims between £1500 and £3000 the amount of expenses would normally be limited to a maximum of 10%.

HAVE YOU BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY BY CREDITORS OR DCA's?

 

BEWARE OF CLAIMS MANAGEMENT COMPANIES OFFERING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS.

 

 

Please note opinions given by rory32 are offered informally as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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Rory,

 

I was debating whether to put in the bit about the court expenses as I read your previous answer about the court expenses and as we all know from reading all the posts you are usually right and may well be on this occasion as well.

 

I know that when a council takes a sitting tenant to court for rent arrears and is awarded a decree against that tenancy the court expenses of around £250 are awarded or at least that is my experienses in my local court. As i said It may well be different for former tenant arrears as a decree is not being sought.

 

Summertime 2009, take Rory's advice regarding the court expenses as he is the guy we all look to for sound advice on this site.

 

Please let us know how you get on. Cheers.

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I know that when a council takes a sitting tenant to court for rent arrears and is awarded a decree against that tenancy the court expenses of around £250 are awarded or at least that is my experienses in my local court. As i said It may well be different for former tenant arrears as a decree is not being sought.
Yes it is different because as a sitting tenant the case would have to be heard under the summary cause rules (no matter the amount of arrears involved) where the expenses awarded would be a wee bit higher, so £250 would be about right for a sitting tenant.

HAVE YOU BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY BY CREDITORS OR DCA's?

 

BEWARE OF CLAIMS MANAGEMENT COMPANIES OFFERING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS.

 

 

Please note opinions given by rory32 are offered informally as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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