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TDS & Verbal Agreement Gone Wrong

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Hi there hoping for some advice.


We recently got a phone call from our landlord saying someone has put and offer on our flat and has been accepted. From this we asked if we could end the tenancy early if we found somewhere say in a week or two. He said yes. We have signed for a new flat and told the landlord who is saying he didn't say it and wants 2 months notice.


I'm guessing we're in a bad situation, 2 months is on paper and the 2 week notice was only a verbal agreement. Am I correct in thinking this? This leaves us in the awful situation of potentially paying for 2 places for 2 months - which neither of us can afford, I used all my savings for the new deposit!


What are our options, we're considering formally handing notice stating 1 month as agreed, but he's not going to like it and dispute this... We could cancel our standing orders for the following month - but i'm guessing he'll chase our money.



Upon investigation we have found our deposit is not in any of the 3 DPS and when asked he said its in his own scheme... Hmmm... is it still true that we can go to the small claims court and get this deposit back and 3x? Can this be done after the tenancy or has it to be done before? Anyone got a quick heads up?


How do we stand, i'm worried to tears! Whats the best course to take? I feel sick that he has done this after 3 years of renting from him and being perfect tenants.


Help very much appreciated.

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Let's forget the deposit protection penalty for the moment, that could be expensive in up-front Court fees.

Best option IMO is to notify new LL that you will be unable to move-in. It may only cost you his re-advertising fee.

Stay where you are, if the property is sold, new owners become your LL. If current LL wants vacant poss for sale, you have a strong negiotiating position!

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Thanks for the reply, we've paid fees and deposit for the new place now - and its rare to find somewhere in the area as properties are on the market for such a short time. We're down £300 at the moment from the fees which we'd have to pay again if we went found somewhere else.


The property has been sold to a private buyer, the landlord is says he is now waiting on a moving in date for her - so we have to leave anyway.

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You are right that the deposit issue could be a useful bargaining tool.


Recent rule changes mean that the penalty is now between 1 & 3 times the value of he deposit, but you can claim after the end of the tenancy.


A problem for you is that such a claim should be heard in the 'multi-track' where your court fees will be over £1500, but I have heard plenty of anecdotal evidence that they are sometimes heard in 'small claims'.


The threat of up to 3 x penalty and your huge court fees, and possibly huge solicitors costs if heard in multi-track may encourage your landlord to be a little more flexible. If he does agree, get it in writing this time - no conditions attached.


Of course, you may still decide to take action after you move :(

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A problem for you is that such a claim should be heard in the 'multi-track' where your court fees will be over £1500, but I have heard plenty of anecdotal evidence that they are sometimes heard in 'small claims'.
Sullivan v Bristol Film Studios 2012 is the case you want for this. Cases can be struck out if the cost of pursuing them is disproportionate to the claim itself - that is if they are on the wrong track. You might also want to check out Dow Jones & Co Inc v Jameel 2005. It is therefore easy to move any claim to the small claims track if you know what to do and the sum you are claiming is under the small claims limit.


"It would be an abuse of process to continue to commit the resources of the English court, including substantial judge and possibly jury time, to an action where so little is now seen to be at stake. Normally where a small claim is brought, it will be dealt with by a proportionate small claims procedure. Such a course is not available in an action for defamation where, although the claim is small, the issues are complex and subject to special procedure under the CPR."


The relevant part of the CPR is 26.1.


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