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Landlord taken my possessions in lieu of rent


icemonkey
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Ok... I was staying with friends near manchester, it then became a formal agreement (paid in part by benefit and part cash). They proved to be quite odd people so I went in search of work in London, found work, after about 5 weeks in London at friends places I decided to move here so I informed my landlord I had some money, and wished to return to collect my possessions and settle up the money I owed them for keeping my stuff in their home.

 

They immediately put all my belongings into storage at another of their properties, opened my post (looking for an "address") sent me a (dishonest) bill and claimed further debts I know nothing about. In my post are cheques for the work I have done that I cannot now get.

 

This put me into quite a bad financial position as I was unable to move into the bedsit I had planned as they have my post and all my tools etc. Ive been running about trying to make up this impossible sum. They are now threatening me with further legal action and interest.

 

To make matters worse I am in the middle of custody battle/access battle for my daughter and they are withholding my legal documents and post.

 

I have no doubt this is because they want the valuable mountaineering equipment and tools I left behind with them. They wont even let me inspect them, or have a friend look at my items.

 

What do I do now?

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Ok... I was staying with friends near manchester, it then became a formal agreement (paid in part by benefit and part cash). They proved to be quite odd people so I went in search of work in London, found work, after about 5 weeks in London at friends places I decided to move here so I informed my landlord I had some money, and wished to return to collect my possessions and settle up the money I owed them for keeping my stuff in their home.

 

They immediately put all my belongings into storage at another of their properties, opened my post (looking for an "address") sent me a (dishonest) bill and claimed further debts I know nothing about. In my post are cheques for the work I have done that I cannot now get.

 

This put me into quite a bad financial position as I was unable to move into the bedsit I had planned as they have my post and all my tools etc. Ive been running about trying to make up this impossible sum. They are now threatening me with further legal action and interest.

 

To make matters worse I am in the middle of custody battle/access battle for my daughter and they are withholding my legal documents and post.

 

I have no doubt this is because want the valuable mountaineering equipment and tools I left behind with them. They wont even let me inspect them, or have athey friend look at my items.

 

What do I do now?

 

 

You may I think need to seek local qualified legal advice, retaining your post which contains cheques and legal document is a matter for police I believe.

 

 

Go to a local police station and insist on speaking to a senior officer (inspector or above) explain fully what has happened have addresses to hand.

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Thank you. The silly thing is that they have done all this by email, so its all in writing! Im not too sure quite what is legal and what is not. Ive been told that Tort Law does not allow for this type of action. I am a bit more than confused.

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Thank you. The silly thing is that they have done all this by email, so its all in writing! Im not too sure quite what is legal and what is not. Ive been told that Tort Law does not allow for this type of action. I am a bit more than confused.

Hello icemonkey ,

 

 

The withholding of your personal post and the fact that cheques are contained in the letters is illegal and a police matter.

 

 

Are you in a position to make a county court claim or a counter claim to any action the LL may take.

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Im currently kind of homeless and penniless, but will look into the county court claim. I was curious if withholding personal possessions in lieu of rent was legal? Ive read elsewhere on this site where it was not.

 

Oh and to clarify, I do not owe them the sums they claim I do - this seems more likely that they want to steal my equipment and tools. I had always planned to pay them the verbally agreed amount for storing my stuff while I was away, it was only when they received my email that I had a job and an income that they demanded thousands of pounds in rent for the time I was away.

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I would also start by making a police report, and then by opening a court claim for return of the goods. They may counterclaim for the debt they are owed, but if part of the debt they are claiming is not legally justified that will be plainly revealed at court and dealt with.

 

Start with a formal 'letter before action' setting out your position, and your intent to issue proceedings if the issue is not resolved within a specific time frame. The normal time frame is 14 days but I think you have justification to make that shorter here. Follow through if they don't respond in time. You can also send a separate letter marked 'without prejudice' setting out a clear and simple proposal for how you think the dispute can be resolved without going to court. You should keep settlement negotiations in a separate letter, because otherwise the letter needs to be shown to the court.

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Im currently kind of homeless and penniless, but will look into the county court claim. I was curious if withholding personal possessions in lieu of rent was legal? Ive read elsewhere on this site where it was not.

 

Oh and to clarify, I do not owe them the sums they claim I do - this seems more likely that they want to steal my equipment and tools. I had always planned to pay them the verbally agreed amount for storing my stuff while I was away, it was only when they received my email that I had a job and an income that they demanded thousands of pounds in rent for the time I was away.

 

 

Depriving you of your post and cheques is most certainly a police matter.

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Please Consider making a donation to keep this site running!

Nemo Mortalium Omnibus Horis Sapit: Animo et Fide:

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As mentioned above, the opening of your post is a criminal offence. Do you have proof they were opening it?

 

And as you speculate the landlord cannot simply withhold your goods. More than that they can be liable for any damage which occurs to your possessions whilst they are holding them.

 

However, did you have any sort of written tenancy agreement where there may have been a clause allowing them to withhold goods in lieu of payment? (I assume not from your posts).

 

As stated above, reporting the mail problem to the police and sending a letter before action to the landlords is the best place to start.

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You may quote the Postal Services Act 2000 which provides as follows:

 

(3)A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person’s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him.

(5)A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (3) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.

 

See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/26/section/84.

 

I would report them to the police right away to add pressure. It is important to act quickly in this kind of situation. If you don't act the landlord will keep adding interest to the debt and will just keep your goods.

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