Jump to content
mrpenguin

Personal property disposed of without notice from landlord

style="text-align:center;"> Please note that this topic has not had any new posts for the last 3567 days.

If you are trying to post a different story then you should start your own new thread. Posting on this thread is likely to mean that you won't get the help and advice that you need.

If you are trying to post information which is relevant to the story in this thread then please flag it up to the site team and they will allow you to post.

Thank you

Recommended Posts

Posting on behalf of my father in law – not sure if this is the right location for this thread but posted here as technically a rental agreement was in place:

 

My father in law stored his caravan with a local company rather than keep it at his home address as this was both convenient and secure.

Originally he was issued with a rent book and passed his details and home address to the THEN owner of the storage company.

Over recent years the caravan has maybe only be used a few times but given the recent spell of good weather we have seen, my father in law decided to go and check out his caravan in preparation for a short break he and his wife were intending on taking.

When he arrived at the storage place, they found that their caravan was nowhere to be seen. After speaking to somebody (a weekend member of staff) on the site it transpired that the business & plot were sold to a new owner many months ago.

My father in law was concerned as to the location and state of the caravan as it was previously wheel clamped and tow bar clamped to prevent it from theft. The advice given by the member of staff was to call the main office number on a week day to get the answer to the whereabouts of their caravan.

On calling the main office my father in law was advised that when the new owners took over the site they posted a notice to move his caravan ON the caravan or it would be moved/disposed of. As the caravan was not moved, it was apparently ‘disposed’ of.

From my father in law’s perspective, he had not received any notification of the need to move his caravan and that his property has been ‘disposed’ of without consent.

This matter is being reported to the police but I suspect they will not wish to get involved and so our only course of action will be firstly to formally complain to the company and more than likely try to reclaim monetary compensation via the courts?

My query is what should the new owners of the storage company have done if they wanted to dispose of the caravan (bearing in mind my father in laws details would have been on record somewhere in terms of home address, he still lives in the same house he did when he began to store this caravan there) and what can be done in order to seek recompense?

On a side note, there were some personal belongings and affects in the caravan that cannot be replaced like pictures etc but the worst part is not even knowing how the caravan was disposed of – was it destroyed or even sold on? Apparently the person on the phone when my father in law called the new owners offices was quite blunt, obstructive and unhelpful.

Any help, advice or comments are greatly welcomed – please shout if you require any further info.

 

Many thanks

Mr Penguin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Should I repost this under General Consumer Issues?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not a lawyer. Either the previous owner or the new owner did something "wrong". Pursue them both. Unfortunately, your remedy is likely to be only the market value of the caravan and personal effects, and a rent refund I guess.

 

I suppose any evidence of the caravan's ownership in or on the caravan that the new owner ignored could be in your favour. Eg. did it have a number-plate that links to your car?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am not a lawyer. Either the previous owner or the new owner did something "wrong". Pursue them both. Unfortunately, your remedy is likely to be only the market value of the caravan and personal effects, and a rent refund I guess.

 

I suppose any evidence of the caravan's ownership in or on the caravan that the new owner ignored could be in your favour. Eg. did it have a number-plate that links to your car?

 

I think you are right in what you say about compensation but that is all he would be looking for, to be in the same position he was prior to the disposal of the caravan.

 

The caravan itself had inside it records of holiday sites stayed at which would have contained personal adetails such as address. Also the plot the caravan was pitched on had a plot registration plackard to identify it, which could have led the site owners back to my father-in-law.

 

I think the next step is to formally write to the caravan site and the new owners head office and see what they say

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is difficult to comment without knowing exactly what the arrangement was, but if the business was taken over as well as the land all contracts would have been taken over and they surely had records. I cannot see it would have been difficult to establish who the owner was and where he lived. I do not think you can dispose of a caravan as if it were an old mattress.

 

Were there any terms and conditions that applied? They may have a bearing on the situation. It has to be doubted whether they passed a good title to whoever they disposed of the caravan to.

 

I agree that in the first instance you need to write. Tell the company that it had no power to dispose of the caravan and that either they must pay its value (specify what you consider that to be) or recover it and return it to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aequitas is correct, but you should also try to determine whether the new owners actually bought the business or just the land. If the former, then they are at fault, but if the latter then the responsibility is almost certainly with the former owner.

 

What exactly do you imply by "Originally he was issued with a rent book and passed his details and home address to the THEN owner of the storage company"? Is there still a rent book? When was rent last paid and up until when?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks for your posts:

 

The caravan was originally stored at the site from 2002 onwards and as far as my father in law can remember he didn’t sign any kind of agreement or wasn’t given a copy of any site terms although if there were, they would have all been in the caravan...

 

The site has still retained its name and so I would assume that the business was sold, the new company appear to have sites all over the UK.

 

When my father in law first started using the site he was given a rent book by the former site owner and he gave them his home address and details for their records. I'm not sure how the rent is/was currently paid or indeed when it was last paid. Would this have a bearing or affect at all on their right to dispose of the caravan without giving 'proper' notice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your father-in-law cannot prove that he had permission or licence to park it there, his case is very weak. He cannot claim that the new owners should have rifled through the contents of the caravan to find out who it belonged to.

 

On the other hand, if he can prove that it was there for 8 years, that probably creates some sort of right that would uphold a claim for compensation. A business finding a vehicle on its land can clamp it or remove it to safe keeping and charge for the keeping, but it cannot sell or destroy the vehicle.

 

If he can prove that there was a contract of some sort - maybe from past bank records, cheques, etc - then it might come down to a question of when rent was last paid.

 

If this is a large company, "with sites all over the country,"and they purchased a running business, then he should write to HQ, asking why they didn't contact him as they must have taken over the records, and claiming the market value.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your comments. I'll check his records with him but it seems all things caravan related were in the caravan. I've drafted a letter to send to their HQ demanding the safe return of the caravan and its contents or otherwise proof of the manner is was disposed of along with a sum for the replacement of the caravan and its contents at the current market value.

 

I'll post again when a reply comes in or if 14 days passes without one.

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A letter was sent to the company (both the site & HQ) requesting the safe return of the caravan or an explanation as to what happened to it along with compensation to its value if it had been destroyed.

 

The company has now responded asking for the following information:

1) A copy of an agreement to station the caravan there

2) Information about the security of the caravan

 

When the caravan was first stored there, there was no formal agreement. A rent book was issued after some time however payments were made as and when my father in law was in the area or checking up on his caravan. In the past it had been cheques in the beginning but eventually all rent was paid cash as was the informality of it all.

Before the new oweners took over, the site did at some point send circular type correspondence to my father in law’s home address and did have a card in their site office with his details on it.

The caravan itself was wheel clamped, hitch locked and also had other security measures on it, although I don’t see what relevance this has as they have verbally confirmed they disposed of the caravan already plus any conditions the new company have with regards to storage of vehicles/caravans were not issued to my father in law.

 

Can anyone give some advice or direction as what to do next?

Thanks

Edited by mrpenguin
update

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you'll have to do the best you can with what you can find. If father-in-law has evidence of the cheques in the early days - which he should from old bank statements - then that should establish that a contract existed. As you say, the new manager admitted that the caravan was in place when they took over.It is almost certain that photos were taken of the site when arrangements for sale of business were under way, so you could challenge them about those. It is also likely that there was an inventory made at the time and the caravan appeared on that.

 

The relevance of the security is that they will find it difficult to suggest that another party may have stolen the caravan. Another strand of relevance is how were the security measures overcome except though having the keys etc. in the office? If they were in the office, then details of ownership must also have been there.

 

It is quite possible that the new owning company genuinely know nothing about the caravan and the manager made a bit on the side, so be aware of that, but also be aware that if they bought the business, then they undertook the liabilities and responsibilities, which is why I asked in the first place whether they bought the business or just the land

 

Have you made efforts to contact the original business owner?.

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks webranger.

 

I'll get the father-in-law to dig out evidence of cheques from his bank statements. Good call about the site survey, the father-in-law also has some pics of the caravan on the site. I'll check about spare keys etc in the site office.

 

The site has still retained the same name so I'm hoping it was a case of the whole business being bought. The previous site owner has since passed away and I think it was his son who took the business over and then since sold it. I'm not sure if it will be possible to trace the son if that would do any good at all (the previous owner lived on the site).

 

Thanks again, input most helpful and appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UPDATE:

 

After reviewing all the details we have written to the new company (using the retained name of the original business as given by the previous owner) assuming that they bought the land and business, lock & stock.

 

We've re-iterated the fact that they had no right to dispose of the property without giving due notice (trading standards have confirmed this and also mentioned that at the very least they should have retained the property and then charged to store it, which is in line with the rental understanding).

 

We've given the letter the title of 'Letter Before Action' in hope of kicking them into gear and to give a definitive answer but we already have one eye on the next potential step - so will be looking to draft some P.O.C soon. I could do with some help on this before it is submitted (expected date of submission next week) so can I call on some input from you all if required?

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done, let us know what response you get and I'm sure between us we'll be able to advise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update:

 

A response was received last week from the new owners of business stating the following:

 

They have no records from the previous owner to say that my father-in-law's caravan was lawfully stored on the caravan park and they have no records of payments for such provision.

 

They have also stated that they do no know whether the caravan was in fact removed by my father-in-law or an associate of his!

 

They then follow on to say that if we have any supporting evidence to support this then to send it to them for their perusal.

 

[The way we worded the previous letter to them was done so as if they were the new owners of the business not just the land, and they have not argued that point so a positive taken is that they are the ones we should be going to and not the previous owner of the business & land.]

 

Not sure where to go next - in terms of evidence of the caravan being there we have pictures taken several years ago of it on the site, we also have an ariel image from Google earth/maps with the caravan on the site although from that height it is not possible to distinctively say that is his caravan (we have asked Google to verify the date the picture was taken too).

 

We have found 3 cheques paid to the previous owner for rent in the past (as most times it was cash) and have requested a copy of the cheques from the bank - I'm hoping this will serve as proof of an implied contract?

 

The thing that really bothers me is the point about proving the caravan was actually on the site and that they disposed of it. I know from a telephone conversation between my FIL and the PA to the site development director initially in which they stated that caravans on the site were posted with notices and those not removed were disposed of. But they have not specifically stated they disposed of his. Any ideas what can be done here?

 

Also, if they deny disposing of the caravan then surely its disappearance must be down to theft. As such we would need to go back to the police and tell them, again! If this were to be the case, would we be able to potentially claim the loss against any insurance they had? However, having said that, we know the caravan was secure on the site and that it is unlikely to have been stolen – maybe just an attempt at throwing a red herring into the equation?

 

Any input, thoughts or guidance greatly appreciated

 

Many thanks

 

Mr Penguin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you've made considerable progress. The Google Earth picture was a brilliant idea. With that and your own photos plus the old cheques you will have established beyond doubt that the caravan was there and with the manager's admission that it was there when they took over, you have overcome that hurdle.

 

As they took over the business and never sent you a notice to say that there was rent owing or warning you of disposal, you have a sound argument that they were responsible. It is not your father-in-law's fault that records were not passed over with the transfer of business.

 

The new owners could see the caravans and should have done more to identify the owners. The manager admitted that they "disposed" of them. To whom and how is immaterial. But you can ask them for details - did they record make and chassis nos. etc. If they just put notices on them and then disposed with no records, that is neglect of a duty of care. They had a duty because the business had allowed the caravan to be parked there for a monetary consideration.

 

But don't try and involve the police because they will correctly say that it is a civil matter. There is no evidence at all that it was theft. Of course, it might be useful if you could get them to put that in writing.

 

So, press on, politely but firmly.

Edited by Webranger
typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to see how this turns out. Keep us updated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to hear we are on the right track - I'll send another letter with regards to the points you mentioned and keep you posted.

 

Thanks agin for the advice and support

 

Mr Penguin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update:

 

The latest letter has been sent so hopefully some further news on their response in the next week or so.

Some interesting news - I told my FIL that it would not hurt if he were to visit the site and do a little homework and if he could find out any info form any other people who use the site...he did visit it on Sunday and spoke to a elderly resident of the site who was very displeased with the new owners and their regime to say the least. This helpful chap did advise that there were several tourer caravans that were all given 4 months notice to be moved (my FIL seems to remember in the phone conversation he had with the new owners PA that they advised 6 months notice was given) but quite a few were towed away! It would be interesting to get in contact with these people as I'm sure they have also been treated unfairly by the new owners.

Judging by the actions of the new owners, they don’t seem to care or be bothered and just want their site to be redeveloped asap so they can make money. I have a strong feeling that we won’t get any joy out of them until either they are faced with court action or even sitting in front of a judge!

 

Mr Penguin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update:

 

A response was received yesterday from the new company. They seem to be going over the same ground but the main points they make are as follows:

 

1) They have no records and we have no proof that the caravan was actually there

2) They have no records and we have no proof that if it were there, it was stored there legally

 

The make a point of stating that there were some old caravans there but these were 'clearly abandoned' and disposed of - but no caravan matching our description was there.

 

The letter itself is quite rude and unprofessional. It even makes reference to points that it claims were made before but are not contained in previous letter...[rant over]

 

Other than our statements of facts contained in the letters sent, we have as yet not provided them with anything by way of evidence such as the copies of cheques cashed by the previous owner (waiting for this form the FIL's bank) but am wondering if we should write to them again or just go for the court action?

 

Any thoughts or guidance welcomed

 

Mr Penguin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would hit them with court action. It's obvious to me, and I suspect you that these people wont budge unless forced.

 

Maybe a solicitor clued up in the right areas of the law could make them sweat enough to avoid court but I doubt it.

 

Let us know how it develops!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Monster.

 

I'll looking for some help with the P.O.C although I can draft these up if there are any volunteers to cast an eye it over or give some input I'd greatly apprecaite it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update - help needed:

 

Hello All,

 

Please see below draft POCs. I'm not sure if these full cover the issue or indeed contain enough detail. Also would it be better to use the MCOL service or complete the forms by hand and take to the courts?

 

Any help/advice and thoughts greatly apprecaited:

 

1. The Claimant commenced use of the Defendant’s services around X which comprised of payment for secure storage of a caravan 2. The Defendant has disposed of the Claimant’s caravan and possessions therein without reasonable notice of its intention to do so. Since the Claimant discovered this fact, the Defendant has failed to address the matter reasonably. 3. The Defendant has received several detailed letters regarding the matter and what its perceived responsibilities are. 4. The defendant has acted unreasonably and recklessly in its actions 5.Claimant seeks: (a) The return of the caravan and its contents therein, in its former condition OR (b) an amount of money to replace the caravan and its contents therein 6. Permitted costs.

 

Thanks

 

Mr Penguin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any thoughts or advice please?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My apologies, Mr. Penguin, I have not previously seen your post of 12th October.

 

I think that you have to specify a sum that you consider to be the value of the caravan and contents. There ARE situations in which you can make a claim for an unspecified sum but I doubt this is one of them. Ring up a local court and ask the clerk to advise you on that. (Courts can advise on procedure but not on the law.) The fee to be paid will depend on the sum you are claiming.

 

I assume that you are making the claim in the name of your father-in-law. If you intend to speak in court on his behalf you will have to get the court to accept you as a McKenzie Friend (which they must if he asks) AND to allow you to address the court (which they don't have to accept).

 

You should add a claim for interest too, presumably to run from the date when you found the caravan missing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 Caggers

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Have we helped you ...?


×
×
  • Create New...