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pablodiablo

3 x Deposit Case Won...however there is a catch!

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Hi,

I have just recently won a case against my old landlord. It has taken 18 months all in however once heard by the county courtlink3.gif the order was perceivd to be pretty clear cut and I was awarded 3 x the value of the deposit + the original deposit + relevant costs for travel, loss of earnings to attend hearings etc. The deposit was £1250 so it was a hefty thump for the landlord as you can imagine being well over £5k total.

 

Just for background, the landlord openly refused to pay the deposit into a recognised body from day one, regardless of repeated requests for him to do so (to save any disputes later) and even links to dps etc by email for him to refer to. his reasons were because he only lived next door and it was easier to keep things friendly with him keeping it, further he had apparently checked with his solicitor who told him that he didn't need to protect the deposit (foolish).

 

around about a month after the court proceedings were issued against the landlord, he belatedly paid the £1250 into the scheme, however this made no difference to the outcome of the case. Although the landlords defence was based on naivity to the law (which was a blatant lie) and the advice from his solictor the judge made a clear ruling (although the judge didn't like it much as he personally felt it was a harsh penalty) against him.

 

At this point you must be thinking good for me i have £5k to buy that holidaylink3.gif in barbados - not so fast.

 

Firstly, although the landlord was ordered by the court to pay by a certain date there is actually nothing there to enforce it.

 

After speaking with bristol county courtlink3.gif i was given a number of options and guess what? they all entail outlaying even more money in costs than i have already had to pay to get this far! Bearing in mind this guy owns at least 3 properties and a business and has no reasonable excuse not to have the funds, i can either 1. ask the landlord to attend court to say why he hasn't paid, if he can pay and how? 2. instruct bailiffslink3.gif to attempt to collect a payment/payments. 3. do nothing and the landlord will never have to put his hand in his pocket or be repremanded by the court for ignoring the order. Neither option 1 or 2 will necessarily force the landlord to pay and even if he does he may offer to pay a nominal sum i.e £10 a week i'm guessing.

 

Further to this, although the terms of securing deposits quite clearly state that an award in this instance is a strict liability penalty and landlords cannot counter claim against tenants the judge in one of the preliminary hearings advised the landlord that the only way he could protect himself from this law would be to open a seperate case against me (surely a counterclaim) to recoupe any costs that he saw fit. And sure enough he did.

 

Obviously now i face fraudulent claims about damage to the property etc that clearly didn't exist at checkout (luckily i at least have some email evidence of this) which with some amazing stroke of coincidence is valued within pence of the £5k figure i was awarded! Not withstanding how obvious the landlords actions are, it still seems to be going to be heard in court. the landlord presumably intends to void a payment to me by winning the same amount from me.

 

We shall see what the outcome is, however i'm pretty sure if he wins even 1 penny this would directly contravene the legislation that s213 outlines about counterclaims sure making it very unworthwhile for anyone in the future to take this path against landlord.

 

sorry for the length, maybe it will prove useful to some. equally if anyone has any advice to me about how i get the sum i'm owed or get the landlords ridulous claim thrown out that would be great.

Edited by pablodiablo

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Personally, I think it would be extremely foolish to lodge counter claim at this late stage.

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indeed i would think so too particularly as it has no basis, however the fact the judge hasn't thrown it out and as far a i know is scheduling a hearing is somewhat of a worry and makes me think i must be missing something?!

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For a sum of £5k would it be worth seeing if you can get a solicitor involved to help enforce judgement? For that amount you can threaten bankruptcy, and solicitors may be able to add their costs. I'm definitely not knowledgeable here, mind you.

 

I don't see a legal impediment to the LLs claim. His claim is about the alleged damage to his property/breach of contract. Focus on the two things separately.

 

For an easy life, it is not too late to negotiate a lower figure in full and final settlement of all claims. Though I think you are in a position to start at a high settlement figure. The force of a solicitor behind your negotiation might strengthen your claim.

 

Just thoughts and ideas. Well done for winning your case.

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thanks for that Steve. i'm reluctant after the run around he has given us over nearly 2 years to let him get away with even a penny just on principle. a solicitor could be the only way forward, it just concerns me outlaying more money for it to potentially not return as has been the case so far....

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Cases like this remind me what a failure this country is. Once a CCJ has been won, the 'loser' should have 14 days to appeal, pay up, have their assets frozen or face a custodial sentence. No excuses.

 

Those that create these laws have alot to answer for. Nothing has changed since Dicken's day. Access to justice remains the domain of the rich.

 

If the LL's 'counter claim' goes to court, will he be able to prove damage? Was there a signed inventory carried out by an independent party? If not, I'd not pay for a solicitor, but go along and defend myself with any witnesses who can corroborate the 'state' of the property on start of tenancy.

 

Even if you win, however, you will have to fork out to enforce the original CCJ against the LL and whose to say how long that will drag on. What a bloody mess this country is!

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I've just read this: Tenants should note that PainSmith solicitors is now operating a “no win, no fee” service for tenants whose tenancies have ended and whose landlords have not properly protected their deposits. Contact us for more details st http://blog.painsmith.co.uk/2010/08/06/some-more-tenancy-deposit-cases/

 

Though you have already won your initial case, they may be willing to extend the no win no fee to collecting your win and fighting off this ridiculous damage claim.

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