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After checking out of a property about 9 months ago (after a 2 year and 5 month tenancy) we received a letter of claim from the landlady.

 

We negotiated through the Agents and came to an amount which we both agree to be a fair deduction from the deposit. (Although we believe we were very generous). The Landlady refused any offer and said that she want to take this to court, and after 9 months send her letter of demand.

 

She refused any input from a mediator like the TDS and did not even received our responses to the agent about a number of the issues on the list of claims. Therefore her claim do include things which are irrelevant because of her lack of knowledge as a result of her refusal for any negotiation.

 

The deposit was £1600 (which now has been fully returned to us) but she claim £8300+. Many of the high claim items is round figures plucked out of thin air and zero information where it come from (like quotations, costings, etc.) and there is anyway no way that, should we agree to the issue, that the cost will even come to close the amount she claim.

 

A solicitor send her a letter asking for calculations and evidence where the cost is coming from. The solicitor also pointed out to her that the court will frown on her refusal for negotiation. Her response once again illustrated that she is clueless with once again nothing to substantiate her amounts.

 

I am very happy to see her in court and many of her claims will be very easy to shoot down but I have a few questions.

 

Filing a claim of this amount and going to a hearing will be expensive. We will make her a reasonable offer (on the same basis as before) but what will happen to this costs? If the judge accept our proposal, or order an amount slightly more, will be require to pay these costs? I will really appreciate it if someone can give me more clarity on this.

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It's a shame that you instructed a solicitor on this. This will be unnecessarily expensive and you won't be able to recover those costs.

 

I understand that you have got all your money back that she is claiming a further £8300. Presumably she is threatening to begin a County Court claim against you.

 

Do you think any of the money which she is claiming is justified?

 

If you are using a solicitor then why are you coming here?

 

It might be helpful if you could post up a list of everything that she is claiming for in PDF format – redact the identifiers. Then we can start to understand a bit more as to what she's talking about.

 

Maybe you can tell us what the accommodation was. I don't understand how you managed to recover the entire deposit when she is apparently claiming a further £8000. I also don't understand that you said that you were negotiating a deduction from the deposit and yet you now say that you have recovered the entire deposit. It all sounds a bit contradictory to me.

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When I received her claim there was an important question which I was looking for clarity (I will raise that question here later). I spoke to someone at a law firm and they offer that a trainee (at a substantial lower cost) will give me an overview of the situation and draft me a response. I accepted that offer but it will be costly to continue using their service (even at the reduced rate), therefor I will not use their services further.

 

At the end of the tenancy I had a long negotiation with the lettings agency and I believe the amount of around £430 which we offered would cover all costs which are justified, therefore there are justifiable costs but no more than the amount we offered.

 

The landlady rejected the offer and threatened to go to court (more than 6 months ago). We referred the return of the deposit to the TDS and she rejected using the TDS. The rules of the TDS is such that they will return the deposit to you if there is no evidence of a court claim during 6 months. The 6 months have passed and they returned the deposit to us.

 

She eventually send her claim of £8300+ to us (this is 9 months after the end of the tenancy). The amount she now claim is ridiculous and have no base.

 

I will upload the claim in pdf as you suggested and also clarify the first point I was talking about.

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Okay thanks. Upload the PDF and we'll see where we go.

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I attached the claim schedule (claim 3.pdf) and highlighted the most outrageous points. I also attached a response to the various statements in the letter of claim I wrote before(events 2.pdf). The last 2 attachments is the offer we made before having the negotiations with the letting agency (offer.pdf), as well as the negotiated result we and the lettings agency arrived at (Negotiated Offer.pdf).

 

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]67086[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]67087[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]67088[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]67089[/ATTACH]

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Make an offer 'for full & final settlement'.

LL is entitled for restoration cost less allowance for FW&T at professional rates.

Wait for outcome of any LL Court action

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Make an offer 'for full & final settlement'.

LL is entitled for restoration cost less allowance for FW&T at professional rates.

Wait for outcome of any LL Court action

 

Thanks mariner for you advice.

 

We do intend to make a full and final settlement offer, basically along the lines of what we negotiated with the letting agency.

My main question before I respond to her is regarding the costs been awarded by the court. I will use an example to demonstrate what I am asking about.

 

Example:

 

Scenario 1:

• Landlady claim £8000 (Filing fee is £415 and Hearing fee is £335)

• We offer £500

• They reject the £500 and it go to court

• Judge awards the Landlady the £500

• What will happen to the court fees, who will pay what?

 

Scenario 2:

• Landlady claim £8000 (Filing fee is £415 and Hearing fee is £335)

• We offer £500

• They reject the £500 and it go to court

• Judge awards the Landlady £800

• What will happen to the court fees, who will pay what?

 

Below is a skeleton description of the events:

 

  • The letting agency made an assessment of the property and what they will use as a starting point for negotiations to determine which amount will be fair to deduct from our deposit as compensation to the Landlady.
  • We add our comments and raised some additional aspects to clarify some of the items on the list.
  • Came to a negotiated result which both we and the agency agree to be fair.
  • Landlady reject our offer without receiving our comments and inputs (and therefore do not participate in the negotiation process) and states that they want an amount of £900 as full and final settlement.
  • We add another amount as a gesture of goodwill, agency add an amount as well in an attempt to facilitate a settlement for a second offer.
  • Landlady once again rejects offer without consulting our comments and inputs and reiterate that they want an amount of £900 as full and final settlement.
  • Agency suggest that the case be referred to the TDS for arbitration.
  • We agree to the arbitration of the TDS but the Landlady refused and stated that she want to take it to court.
  • We filed a case with the TDS but the Landlady informed them that she is not interested in them to act as an arbitrator.
  • Six months later we receive a letter of demand with hugely inflated amounts. This also includes irrelevant point which she would been aware of should she have participate in any negotiation, either during the agency phase or through the TDS.
  • Her 10-fold inflated claim provide no evidence at how she arrived at the amounts she claimed (and frankly these are irrational amounts and she will not be able to substantiate them). Our response to her claim made it clear that we need disclosure of the evidence of her costs to formulate a full response.
  • Her response failed to provide any evidence of the costs and reiterate the evidence to intend to use to show that we were in breach on the tenancy agreement.
  • Should she filed a case in court then the court will put her to task to provide the evidence of the costs which she claim.
  • She failed 2 pre-action requirements: To provide full disclosure of the evidence of her costs and refusal to participate in any form of negotiation.

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I think tthat if this ended up in court it wouldn't be so straight forward for the following reasons:

1. LL didn't use the arbitration service of the DPS and the judge will not be impressed by that

2. The schedule of damage offered by LL includes reference to inventory which will play against you. If they refer to the inventory which you have signed, surely they can prove that damage was done

3. The fact that you were running a business from home is a serious matter, even if you used the address just for correspondence which you didn't by your own admission. By registering a business you were in breach of your tenancy agreement and invalidated the LL insurance. Just imagine if there was a fire and the house was destroyed. The insurance would have been quick at blaming the flammable clothing stored for your business as a contributing factor to the fire and most likely they would have not paid out. This is indeed very serious and the judge will take this breach very seriously

4. You have admitted causing damage and offered to repay for it. In your response you offer diy compensation for every damage when instead the LL is asking for professional compensation. As pointed out, the LL is entitled to get quotes from professionals to do the repairs, so a light bulb change wouldn't cost £3 and one minute of time, but £3 plus call out charge of an electrician: £30

5. The LL has been very quick and careless starting court proceedings without providing proper written quotes to you, this will play in your favour

6. The fact that you agreed to move out early is irrelevant and so it's the issue with rubbish and recycling which will be surely be collected by the council as usual

 

Given all of this, the judge will have some hard time deciding what to do, but I suspect that he/she will award the LL something like half of her claim.

I agree with mariner: make a final reasonable offer and hope that she accepts it.

By looking at the schedule there seem to be much more than fair wear and tear of 2 years.

I personally don't know anyone who has to repaint the whole house every 2 years as a matter of normal maintenance.

Court fees and interests are added to the compensation usually.

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You refer to schedule of the Landlady, she has a serious problem with it.

 

Yes there are things which we will have to pay compensation for and these things are reflected in our negotiations with the agency and we came to an amount both we and the agency agreed upon and the costs was what the agency suggested. Although she can be awarded more, there are other points where she will get less because we made a number of token offers.

 

The problem for her is that although she can probably proof that we breached some aspects of the tenancy agreement, she provided zero evidence on ho she calculated her costs. She has to do that, otherwise no court will award her any compensation. Furthermore, these costs must be based in reality and not plucked out of thin air, as what many of them are. We put her to task to provide that as part of the pro-action protocol, she failed. Should she go ahead and file this amount regardless, then the court will put her to task to provide that.

 

The issue of the business is not serious, the tenancy agreement does make provision for some business activity to take place but it does state that you are not allowed to register a business. She can only claim costs for damaged a direct result of registering the business there. There is none and she failed to do so and there is no way that she will be able to provide that. This also make the bulk of the claim based on zero evidence of costs. There is plenty of advice regarding this issue on the web, including from the CAB.

 

A lot of the claim also contain "betterment", or New for Old, which she cannot claim.

 

There is no way that judge will award her any substantial amount more than what we offered, unless she can come up with some miraculous evidence of cost to inflate her claim. I had a word with the letting manager yesterday and he agree with this.

 

We do intend to make an offer, but only what we believe is fair. This offer will only be academic because what I have learned from her correspondence is that she will not be satisfied unless we offer a very substantial amount. She does not understand that if she can proof that we were in breach of a clause in the agreement, she still has to provide evidence of the cost she suffered because of that breach and that she can only claim that cost. She thinks she can simply make up any arbitrary amount and if she proof we breach the clause, the court will offer her what she asks.

 

Regarding the early checkout, we can counterclaim the rent we paid for the remainder of the day. It will only be a small amount but I am confident we will be awarded that. There is a number of other things I also believe I can counter claim for (I did not elaborate on it here), whether I will be successful with these is off course an open question. If we are awarded any of our counterclaims then she will be liable to our cost in the same manner as what she will be in her claim. I will decided about the counterclaim at a later stage.

 

 

 

It would be very helpful to me if I can have an answer to my question about the costs awarded before I make a offer. It seems to be not that it is not straight forward because it will be up to the judge at the hearing. This is probably the reason that no one is able to comment on that.

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Costs are fixed in Small Claim Track

 

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part45-fixed-costs/practice-direction-45-fixed-costs#1.1

 

Fixed costs in small claims

1.1 Under Rule 27.14 the costs which can be awarded to a claimant in a small claim include the fixed costs payable under Part 45 attributable to issuing the claim.

1.2 Those fixed costs are the sum of –

(a) the fixed commencement costs calculated in accordance with Table 1 of Rule 45.2;

(b) the appropriate court fee or fees paid by the claimant.

 

Andy

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Without doubt the LL will have a fully comprehensive quote ready to submit to the court.

Then what???

Are you gonna claim that a professional company gives out false quotes to make your LL richer? (even if true you can't prove it)

The only thing the judge is gonna moan about is that the LL didn't follow the pre action protocol.

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Without doubt the LL will have a fully comprehensive quote ready to submit to the court.

Then what???

Are you gonna claim that a professional company gives out false quotes to make your LL richer? (even if true you can't prove it)

The only thing the judge is gonna moan about is that the LL didn't follow the pre action protocol.

 

Where will she get a quote for £3200 for costs that she did not suffered and where there is no damage???

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Where will she get a quote for £3200 for costs that she did not suffered and where there is no damage???

 

Scrapes on the walls cannot be touched up and a good picture can make it look very bad.

So a few scratches that you assume could be fixed for £10/15, will instead cost hundreds of pounds because the whole room must be redecorated.

It's like when a car gets a panel damaged, the adjacent panels must be sprayed as well for a blend in otherwise the difference would be noticeable.

A touch up even with exact same paint will look awful and many decorators refuse to do it.

That's how she's going to get a £3k+ quote very easily.

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I can only come to the conclusion that no one is able to answer my question and therefore will no longer follow this thread.

 

I khave a vey good understanding of the legal aspects of this situation and was hoping that someone would be able to clarify the point I was uncertain about.

 

She has no foundation for an excessive claim, end of story. Therefore, if she filed for such an amount, she has 2 changes; zero and null.

 

king12345: not in this world

 

Just wish someone would have stated that they do not know and refrained from the Gooble-de-gook such those from king12345.

 

Do not know what Nieve means, but if naïve was intended, then I, the lawyer, the letting agency manager, the TDS, CAG, etc. are all naïve.

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I have answered your question re Costs in post #10 above.

 

Regards

 

Andy

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I can only come to the conclusion that no one is able to answer my question and therefore will no longer follow this thread.

 

I khave a vey good understanding of the legal aspects of this situation and was hoping that someone would be able to clarify the point I was uncertain about.

 

In a clear cut case the loser would normally pay the costs. Certainly that is what happened when, recently, I helped a friend make a claim (on a non-housing matter).

 

In my friend's case, he asked for interest - and was awarded it at 4% rather than the standard 8% - I have heard that this is normal these days.

 

The judge was willing to listen to evidence for costs, so be ready to give reasons why the costs are inflated (due to the inflated claim) and why you think the claimant has acted unreasonably.

 

We also claimed loss of earnings which I as a witness got for missing half a day's work whereas my friend the claimant did not get because his work is more irregular so could not prove he'd missed work. If we'd realised this would happen he would have explained that he'd reduced his work because of the case.

 

If the claimant has paid a hearing cost, but the claim is settled 14 days before the hearing, the claimant should be able to get the hearing fee refunded.

 

The forum is for various people to offer opinions, so you will get a range of views!

 

Best of luck. I think you are safe from the £3200 though! Let us know how you get on if it goes to court as my friend is currently involved in another similar case.

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OP doesn't want advice, but only hear what they think they know.

So here it comes:

 

The LL has no reason whatsoever to claim a single penny off you.

You will win hands down and will be awarded costs.

The LL has no chance of success and you will win your counterclaim 100%.

Not a shadow of doubt about it!

 

Please let us know how much you are awarded when this is over.

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