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Ex Landlord Threatening Court Action


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Hi there, apologies if this is in the wrong place. I'll outline my situation:

 

 

I lived at a shared property for 6 years with 4 flatmates. I moved out of said property last year (sep'13). I moved a few streets away. During my last 3 years there I was in charge of collecting the rent from other flatmates and paying the landlord each month.

 

 

The rent was initially paid all in cash and collected in person by the landlord with no receipts. Then we agreed to try paying half the rent in cash and half in bank transfer. This only worked for a few months because some of the flatmates weren't paid on time, and it was odd amounts, so we reverted to paying all in cash as before, collected in person by the landlord.

 

 

This went on for my last year at the property with no apparent problems.

 

 

A couple of months after I moved out I was contacted by my (by then ex) landlord saying that he had not received the last year's worth of bank transfers. I told him that he may have forgotten that we agreed to scrap that at the beginning of the year and I had paid him the whole amount in cash (which he counted and collected in person each month, as usual). He denied any knowledge of this and insisted that I now owed him a year's worth of rent (the missing half).

 

 

This was last Christmas, I told him he was crazy and after numerous phone calls, including one on Christmas eve during dinner, I just barred his number.

 

 

I had heard nothing more about the situation, and I am in constant contact with the remaining tenants (as we are all friends), but now he has told one of them to tell me to meet him to discuss the money or he will take me to court.

 

 

This landlord is notoriously dodgy. He lost a court case a few years ago to some other tenants in the same building over rent raises. He constantly harrasses them and follows other people coming or going, I've even seen him photographing people.

 

 

Although he has no proof that I didn't pay him the rent, I also have no proof that I did. In a court case does it sound like he has a case?

 

 

He is claiming rent not paid starting from Dec 2012, so 2 years ago now, why would he wait that long if he thought he was missing thousands and thousands of pounds, unless he is just trying a [problem] because he knows there are no receipts?

 

 

He even gave me a reference for my new flat. It just doesn't add up.

 

 

Any legal based comments very welcome as I am unfamiliar with any of this process.

 

 

Thanks

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Just an idea but can you show a cash withdrawal from your bank account for that amount on the rent day (or around the due day) . Any activity is better than none and might swing things in your favor.

 

And it was a silly idea not to get receipt but whats done is done.

Ash.

 

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Hi, yeah we asked for receipts every single time and he'd always say oh I forgot I'll bring them next time. He just never did. Although there was also never a contract either so technically speaking no one even lived there.

 

 

The bank statements thing is a good suggestion, but basically I did a lot of cash in hand work that year and also got married so received lots of cash gifts, so the statements don't represent any major withdrawals. The landlord also sometimes used to collect some people's rent in cash whenever they had it. So like Tuesday he'd come for one, then come back Thursday for another's etc. I was trying to avoid all that confusion by giving it in one lump some.

 

 

That's all circumstancial anyway, even if it showed exactly that amount withdrawn on same date each month it would still only prove a withdrawal, not a payemnt to him.

 

 

Would statements even get to be seen? Isn't the onus on him to prove that I didn't pay him? And somehow managed to continue not paying him for a whole year without him noticing......whilst still living there, with my new wife....and my friends....and then only moving a street away...?

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No tenancy?

 

Then as far as I can see he has no basis on which to make a claim

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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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Mmmm yeah well I lived there for 6 years with no contract and some of my flatmates have been there 15 years with no contract! EXCEPT, in my last year there (coincidentally the same time he is claiming for) I signed a 2 page "contract" for 1 year that he downloaded off the internet and crossed out the dates and names and put ours, we had been requesting a contract from him forever (and receipts), and he finally brought one which I signed so he could not raise the rent again for at least another year. I read through it though and it was just a basic standard thing. But then I'm not disputing that I ever lived there.

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Given the lack of documentation/receipts I can't see how either of you could prove anything.

 

If it got to court, the judge would have to decide whether on a balance of probabilities, it is more likely that you owe the money or you do not owe the money. Absolute proof is not required. All the judge would really have to go on is what you and the landlord tell him in court.

 

It doesn't sound like the landlord is the kind of person who would have much success using the court system - which requires care, organisation and attention to detail. I'd be tempted to just write a formal letter to him clearly explaining the situation and that the rent was paid, and telling him that any court proceedings will be defended.

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Yeah I'm not really sure how he manages to get away with cash rent, I mean there's no way this guy is declaring any of it as income. He actually implied to us he knew how to avoid paying council tax altogether if we wanted (which we didn't - we paid council tax). He is basically highly shifty.

 

 

BUT that doesn't help me, if this psycho wants to take me to court with nothing but circumstancial evidence then there's isn't much I can do I guess. I mean I have all the current tenants as witnesses etc, but I'm not even sure youo get witnesses in what I imagine will be a small claims court.

 

 

I think you are right 'steampowered' that it will ultimately come down to a judge's opinion and who's circumstancial evidence he believes. I just can't believe that after years of dutifully and thanklessly collecting all the bloody rent for this guy and then handing it over to him each month, gets me this.

 

 

You are right, he isn't the kind of person to have success using the court system (he lost that year long case I mentioned before), but then who knows...

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you can take witness to a small claims hearing as long as you have collected statements beforehand as part of your evidence. I presume that no protection of deposit, no gas safety cert etc so LL is not going to appear as a good witness in a "he said, I said" case. I cannot imagine that this is anything more than a threat to try and browbeat you into paying money not owed.

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Yeah I have witnesses in the other flatmates, past flatmates, anyone else in the building, pretty much anyone that has ever encountered this guy knows he's a notorious swindler. He has an ongoing court case for harrassment/stalking someone from one of the other flats too. Also, he appeared this week in two newspaper articles because he has apparently served some tenants with eviction notices after they complained about noise. He is an absolute slum landlord.

 

 

Not sure if any of that will help me in a court hearing though, I imagine ongoing cases with others and press articles arent exactly admissable as evidence.

 

 

There was no deposit, and there is no gas either (yes - no heating, apart from electrical fires we had to buy). I spoke to an ex tenant recently and he said that he tried the same thing on with him years ago, just never issued a receipt and then claimed that he didn't get paid, but he never threatened court action with him.

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