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Landlord does not pick up registered letters.


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I have a little problem with my ex-landlord, after more than 4 months he still has not returned my deposit. So I'm starting the way to small claims court. I'm trying to send him a friendly letter asking to return the deposit, as advised by the CAB before sending the letter before action. The friendly letter will show the courts we have tried to get the money back in a friendly manner. Now I have already sent 2 letters by first class signed for, but he has not picked up any of them and they came back without explanation. If he went to the post office to pick them up and refused them because they were sent by me, will the post office tell me he refused to take them? And what should I do now? I want my money back, but I don't want the courts to throw my case out because I didn't try well enough to get it back via a normal way. I'm thinking of sending another copy by normal mail and get proof of posting at the post office and also send him an e-mail. What do the experts think is the best way to proceed towards small claims court so we get our money back.

 

Some info, I was a lodger so the deposit in not in any scheme. I have not received any letter or communication from the ex-landlord regarding any deductions or whatnot. I guess it is too late for him to ask for any deductions as there are already new tenants in the room.

 

Please advice, thanks a lot.

Edited by StevenT
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The letters you have sent to your LL... how many addresses did you send those two letters to?

 

The post office probably won't be able to give you any reason as to why they weren't signed for. I doubt you'll get any info at all regarding if your LL never came to get them or if your LL simply refused to sign for them.

 

You may wish to resend those letters again, but this time just get proof of posting. You can even add a little blurb in the next wave of letters you send (if you decide to do so) mentioning that you already sent out x number of letters to adresss xxxx via return receipt but that the LL did not recieve them.

 

You should probably in this wave of letters send copies of any other letters you sent out.

 

If you just sent it to your LL's address that you had on his lease expand the number of letters you send out this time.

 

Send one to the letting agent if there was one who you went through to rent the property.

 

Send one to the address of the property you rented.

 

Send a letter to any other address you might have for him as well. If you can dig up any info, any company he owns or works for, etc. Send letters to those as well. You might want to send two to each, one that's return receipt and the other that's just proof of posting... however if you do return receipt the receipt you get to track the letters notes that the letter was posted... this is a bit redundant and could be overkill... it just depends on how you want to do things and what you feel is best for you and your situation.

 

If you are simply done with sending letters you could start court action (small claims) and there's plenty of info on this forum about how to start that, you just have to take a bit of time to look around. However, it would be nice for you to know if your LL has any viable mailing address otherwise when you file the papers, he probably won't get the court summons either, especially if he's moved as the addresses you use will be the same.

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Thanks for the quick reply!

 

I only have one address of him, he is still living there, he also owns the house, we have the details from the land registry aswell, it is all on the same address.

 

The 2 letters I have sent so far where both registered and signed for, he hasn't bothered picking them up, or refused to take them when he saw it was from me.

 

I think I will send two other letters by normal first class mail and ask the post office for proof of postage. One letter getting lost may happen, but two is not very likely. That way I have sent 4 letters in total, of which 2 registered/signed for, and 2 via normal first class mail with proof of postage. Then in addition to that I will email him the same letters. I've already included the previous letters in the letters sent, so he can't claim he missed some. In the email I will also include all letters sent so far.

 

Since I only have one address of him, once I open the money claim online if he does not pick up the court papers or ignores them, what will happen to the case?

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I am by no means an expert. My experience and advice is what I have learned and picked up on in my own dealings with an ex-LL.

 

If you know he is living at that address then I would think the courts would consider it viable. In this instance if a summons is sent to that address and he did not show up then if he wanted to later have the judgement set aside claiming he did not know about the court date he would have to provide reason as to why he didn't. This is as I understand it. Other here have far more knowledge and expertise then I do.

 

However, I would be inclined to believe that the court might set aside the first judgement, but when the next court date rolls around he's either going to have to show or it would look rather poorly on him, and I doubt he could use the same excuse twice and get away with it.

 

You may want to go ahead and post the letter again as you have said you would do, and email it to him. You could also go one step further and deliver the letter by hand to his address as well, but if you do this I would take a witness with you and get them to sign a statement saying that they witnessed you delivering the letter by hand/putting it in his mail slot, and what date or time. Also with a witness if you do wind of having a face to face with your LL you have someone else who can attest to any words or actions that might be exchanged between you and the LL.

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Thanks again, I can hand deliver the letter if needed and video it, but I prefer not to talk to him, as I want everything either in writing or per email so there can be no disputes of who said what.

 

I will wait and see what others here have to say on this matter, but thanks a lot for the help!

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You're lucky, LOL. I've been after my husband to get a video recorder for years. Anyway...

 

If you have a friend with you video recording the entire thing it's just as good as writing! Any admissions the LL makes I would believe would suit the same purposes in court as they would if he had made those on paper, perhaps more so since you'd have a real time recording of him saying those things.

 

Additionally if he gets rude, vulgar, or violent, you also have evidence of that. Of course, don't do anything that would put yourself deliberately in harm's way. That would just be silly and ill advised.

 

You're welcome and now I'll be quite and see if those who know more give you any of their good advice!

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Steve - you have already suggested doing the best thing. Post letters from two different post offices - possibly on two different days - both times getting proof of posting. A judge would be very unlikely to believe that both letters had gone missing.

 

Your landlord sounds the sort who would not accept any registered or recorded letter.

Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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You mentioned you have his email? Great!

 

Personally, I'd send the letters by post in the manner described, but would seriously consider hand delivering your letters to the address too, as it appears he is closer enough for you to do so.

 

Then, to try and close this off, email him the same letter too (as a PDF*) the same day and confirm, in the email, that

 

"Dear Bob,

 

For reasons of completeness I personally delivered the letter, attached, to you at ADDRESS this morning, as earlier letters sent to to you there on DATE and DATE by recorded delivery were not collected.

 

It has been 4 months since I left the property and despite my chasing I have not heard back from you. I really must now press you to return my deposit of £x in full. Please will you send a cheque for this amount, made payable to NAME, at my new address, ADDRESS, within 14 days from today, the DATE.

 

Alternatively, I appreciate that it may be easier for you to arrange a direct transfer to my account. If so, please let me know by return and I will call you with my bank details. (StevenT, that bit you may not want to do, if so, avoid saying it!)

 

I should like to resolve this amicably, without recourse to the Courts, so please feel free to contact me on TEL, or EMAIL, if you should have any queries.

 

Yours,

Etc"

Or something to that effect? I'm guessing the email will pretty much duplicate the letter and vice versa!

 

Emails can bounce, go to spam and so on, but if you have a working email for him it also helps document matters.

 

Finally, does he work for himself? If so, does he have a trading name / a limited company?

 

That's my take on it, hope this helps and that you get paid soon.

 

 

(*CutePDF is free, converts Word doc's etc easily to PDF, so you can 'protect'/maintain the format of letters you need to email. I have no connection with the software, but have used it for a few years without problems)

Edited by NewSAHD

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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I did exactly that, I've emailed him a nice little letter stating I've tried to send 2 letters via recorded delivery, none of which has been collected. I've attached those 2 letters to the email in PDF. As expected no reply to the email after 3 days. He is active online (he does things on his facebook for example), so he must have received it. It was send from the same email host so it is very unlikely that it ended up in the spam/junk mail folder.

 

I will now send a copy of the first registered letter by normal mail and ask for a proof of postage at the post office, and will send the same letter again from another post office on Saturday. After that I guess there is no other option than to send the LBA, also via recorded mail and via normal mail, and maybe even hand delivery that letter too, whilst video recording me putting it in the letter box. I do not want to deal with him in person anymore as he is very unpleasant.

 

Do you think it also advisable to send him a text message with something? I've sent him a text message exactly one month after moving out, as the contract states he can not hold the deposit longer than 1 month unless there are exceptional circumstances. As a reply to that text (which said something along the lines of; please return our deposit as the contract states) he only said, "so you're going to get legal with me, then I'm going to legal with you, expect a letter soon". No letter or further communications have been received from him.

 

Thanks for the advise.

Edited by StevenT
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Hi, will come back to your reply later, but if OK, can we back track on what happened when you left the property please?

 

Is it fair to say:

 

- you gave him sufficient notice of your intention to vacate, which he accepted?

- the property/your room was left clean and tidy, with all rents / bills / share of bills paid and up to date?

- he met you at the time and did not indicate there were any problems?

 

Let us know the sequence of events, as may be helpful in drafting what comes next.

 

It would also be helpful if you would let me know:

 

- the dates you rented from and to,

- the rent and

- the deposit too.

 

The property is his main residence, yes? And he rents just a few rooms out? Does he have any other rentals elsewhere?

 

Also, does he trade under his own name, or have a Limited Company for this or any other business dealings?

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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He gave me notice, there were no unpaid bills as they were inclusive of the rent.

 

The room was left in a better state than when I moved in. I took photos of everything when I moved out as his behaviour started to get weirder and weirder as time passed living there.

 

When I moved in everything was sunny and no problems whatsoever.

 

I prefer not to give too many details, but I lived there no longer than 6 months. The deposit is about 450 pounds. Of which I have receipts, all rent was either paid in cash with receipt or paid via bank transfer.

 

The property is his main residence yes. He lets out 2 rooms, one single and one double. As far as I know he doesn't own any other properties.

 

He has a normal day job and rents out the rooms for some extra income, I don't know where exactly he works, but it is not his company for sure.

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Reason for notice?

 

Please let me know, if you can. PM me if you prefer.

 

Weird landlords?

 

Oh yes, they're out there, just sorry that you happened to get to meet one!

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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Can anyone shine some light on what kind of amount I should file for if it comes to that, keep in mind I was just a lodger. Should I only file for the monies owed or do I add additional monies, or do I let the courts decide?

Edited by StevenT
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  • 1 month later...

Just a bump to say the ex-LL replied to the LBA with some vague counter claims. He says he sent a letter a while ago (did not mention a date) and I've failed to respond. I have never gotten any letter, also I mentioned in every single letter I've sent that I have not heard from him. So why didn't he reply to that and resend his letter? He claims I owe him money now, how much he doesn't say. I have to wait for his letter. In the meanwhile I will just proceed to the Courts if I don't get my money back within 14 days of my LBA. I don't fancy playing any games with him.

 

My current questions are:

 

- Am I doing the right thing by proceeding to the Courts if he does not pay up?

- How much should I file the claim for? Deposit amount + ??

- How much interest do I calculate ?

 

He has not bothered to reply to any of my letters until I sent the LBA. This has been going on for quite some time (4-5 months). Quite frankly I'm out of patience. Please advise me kind people of the CAG.

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Yes, you're doing the right thing, you already said that he's been messing you about for months, not returning your deposit.

when you said please give it back referring to the contract, he responds by threatening you.

when you send your lba he's fabricating a bunch of lies about how you owe him money.

 

the guy sounds like a massive tool.

 

just the deposit amount, as you're a live in lodger I don't think that the landlord as to protect the deposit, and so doesn't have any of the penalties attached to not doing that. (so you can't claim deposit + 3x deposit).

you might want to ask the court whether you can include an estimate for your costs incurred so far trying to sort this out, (an amount for your time, to write letters and post them). an amount for postage etc.

 

not sure about intrest.

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Yes, he claims he sent me a letter after his threatening text message, which must be somewhere in August. I did not receive anything, and I would say that if he thinks I owed him money he would chase up on that, but he did not. Then in November when I started sending my letters asking to be paid back and stating I did not hear from him since the text message I received nothing. Now 2 months later when I've sent the LBA he suddenly responds with these claims. I'm curious to what costs he will come with as the rent was inclusive of all bills and the inventory only has a few things on there. I asked to do a walk thought on the day I moved out but he said he was too busy. So there is only a signed inventory when I moved in. Nothing in the room I rented is worth more than 450 pounds, the inventory also does not state the age or state of anything in the room. I took pictures on the day I moved out. I'm just tired of this dragging on so long and I do not have the patience to sit around and let him fabricate costs. I wonder if he knows he has to prove every single deduction made, with a proper receipt, not one anyone can buy at the local Raymans.

 

Does anyone know if the courts require the receipts to have the VAT number and company address on them? Because I want to go to those company's and get a written statement. I doubt he did anything to the room though, as the room was being advertised while I was still living there (with a higher rent). Can I also request other proof of work done other than receipt, such as photos?

 

Thanks.

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Hi,

Re the posting of letters/notices is it not true that the applicant just has to show that the letter was sent by special/recorded delivery, rather than prove it was in fact read by the addressee (Railtrack plc v Gojra) ?

I know this concerns the deliverance of notices but could help the op in this instance ?

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I have no idea, but all letters sent I've sent both via recorded delivery and normal 1st class with proof of posting. The letter he claims to have sent me never arrived here, so I doubt he sent it by recorded delivery, in which case he would've gotten it back and could chase up, or by normal mail. I doubt he sent anything at all and is making things up to try and scare/bully me out of going to small claims court.

Edited by StevenT
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I think it's a determination made by whomever is the judge... and perhaps how reasonable (and maybe credible) either of the parties involved in this are.

 

There have been many things said on this forum concerning notices.

 

Some say to send two copies of the same letter, one by recorded delivery (which can be refused) and the other by normal mail just with getting a certificate of posting.

 

Others say to send two copies of the same letter getting a certificate of posting only and send each letter from a different post office.

 

No method seems sure fire. A person can go to all sorts of lengths to show that a letter was mailed or recieved, etc. I think, and would hope that most judges look for honest and reasonable effort and common sense.

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I'm sure he has now received all letters as he replied to an e-mail to which I had attached all letters sent in PDF. I've did the initial assement for Legal Aid, it seems I'm eligible for it, does this mean I can make an appointment with any of solicitors in their programme? Since the ex-landlord is saying his solicitors are preparing paperwork regarding extra costs he incurred I may need some professional advice on the case, though I think he is trying to bluff his way out and fabricating costs. The rent was all inclusive, and the inventory was not checked when I left, he was too busy for it, I did ask for a walk trough.

 

Any thoughts?

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Just give the solicitors a call and ask if they will take the case on. The worse they can say is no.

 

As for your LL, it sounds like he is trying to scare you off court action. Just continue. Once a solicitors letter lands on his door mat I hope he might just get the message.

Ash.

 

If you think I have helped you, please add to my reputation by clicking the star button to the left.

Thankyou.

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Tomorrow I will write to some solicitors to see if they are willing and able to take my case on.

 

I also wonder how the courts will view the fact he has not responded to any of my letters until I sent the LBA, and now claims I did not respond to his letter. Isn't this a little too late on his side? I also find it peculiar that he claims I owe him more than the deposit.

 

I really hope a solicitor can take on my case as the court procedures seem daunting and I have a lot of evidence but don't know what to submit.

 

I still have not received anything back from him, he did not specify any of the claims, nor did he say when he sent his letter (if he did) and if it was sent my recorded delivery or not.

 

So very tiring all this.

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Isn't this a little too late on his side?

 

Not ideal, as it may colour a Court's view of him, but (unfortunately) never too late

 

I really hope a solicitor can take on my case as the court procedures seem daunting and I have a lot of evidence but don't know what to submit.

 

Don't worry about writing letters to Solicitors, give a few a call.

 

True story: many years ago I had an issue with an employer. Horrible situation, a senior member of staff was trying to stich me up; a kindly Solicitor met me, completely unconnected with any one I knew, went through it all with me, did what was needed - and then said he would not accept a fee after it was all sorted! He did accept a nice bottle of scotch though :D

 

I'm not suggesting this is what you will find, of course, but it's sometimes pleasantly surprising how a horrible situation turns out for the better.

 

Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent there... Although I am "new" to CAG it seems to me fair to say that other posters have had similar fears, initially, but have found the Court process more straightforward than they first thought.

 

Plus, you have right on your side, which apparantly helps sometimes :) .

 

So, stick to the facts - which, in your case, seem (on the face of it) very straightforward: You rented a property, paid a deposit, and later left the property expecting, reasonably, that your deposit would be returned.

 

Why? Because your rent was up to date when you left, the property was clean and tidy when you left, and you left on a date agreed with the LL, of course.

 

The LL, then , did not have the courtesy to respond to your reasonable requests to return your deposit.

 

Well, not until he received a letter before action.

 

I still have not received anything back from him, he did not specify any of the claims, nor did he say when he sent his letter (if he did) and if it was sent my recorded delivery or not.

 

So very tiring all this.

 

Further message to follow on this (have left you a PM) as have to go now! but chin up, based on what has been said it seems it's getting close to when your exLL is going to have to get his cheque book out after all these months!

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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