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Illegal eviction damages claim

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My friend has rented his house out for a number of years.

He had a disagreement with his last tenants and decided to end their tenancy, he is currently claiming through the small claim courts for damages to property.

 

Looking at his case I believe he may be opening up a huge can of worms as he’s made a few mistakes as listed below

 

1. When starting the tenancy he took a deposit which was not protected - the tenants are aware of this

 

2. He issued a section 21 notice 3 weeks before rent was due - the tenants were up to date with rent

 

3. He left them in the notice period with no hot water or heating and did not supply alternative heating - it was winter so property became very damp, the tennant withheld rent for this reason

 

4. When the section 21 notice finished he changed the locks without an eviction notice - the tenants still had furniture in the property

 

He is now trying to claim for damages to property as House was not left tidy, owing rent, and damages totalling £5000

 

The tenants have refuted his claims stating that they did not have a chance to empty the property or tidy it up to an acceptable condition due to being illegally evicted.

 

Am I right in thinking the courts will throw the book at him and potentially side with the tenants as he did not follow the correct legal proceedings?

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Errr yes

What a terrible vindictive landlord who blatantly does not follow the law.

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Yes, it sounds like the tenants could counterclaim for:

 

- Unlawful eviction

- Return of the deposit

- Penalty of 3x the deposit for failing to protect it

- The condition of the property (the landlord has an obligation to keep the property in good repair)

- Breach of the tenancy agreement (since the landlord will have breached his obligation to let them have quiet enjoyment of the property)

- Inability to access their belongings

Plus their legal costs for defending the claim.

 

The landlord could also be prosecuted for unlawful eviction, which is a criminal offence.

 

Of course it is also possible that the tenants don't defend the case and the landlord simply gets given a default judgment.

 

So there is a whole rainbow of possible outcomes.


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My friend has rented his house out for a number of years. He had a disagreement with his last tenants and decided to end their tenancy, he is currently claiming through the small claim courts for damages to property. Looking at his case I believe he may be opening up a huge can of worms as he’s made a few mistakes as listed below

1. When starting the tenancy he took a deposit which was not protected - the tenants are aware of this

2. He issued a section 21 notice 3 weeks before rent was due - the tenants were up to date with rent

3. He left them in the notice period with no hot water or heating and did not supply alternative heating - it was winter so property became very damp, the tennant withheld rent for this reason

4. When the section 21 notice finished he changed the locks without an eviction notice - the tenants still had furniture in the property

 

He is now trying to claim for damages to property as House was not left tidy, owing rent, and damages totalling £5000

 

The tenants have refuted his claims stating that they did not have a chance to empty the property or tidy it up to an acceptable condition due to being illegally evicted.

 

Am I right in thinking the courts will throw the book at him and potentially side with the tenants as he did not follow the correct legal proceedings?

 

I would advise him to mitigate as much as he can to keep it out of court, if I was the tenant I would be reporting him to the police. Hi is, and for good reason, looking at some serious trouble.

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The claim has been defended with everything above written on it. He was sent a directions questionnaire - as were the tenants, he’s asked to go through mediation, the tenants have asked for it to be allocated to court, I think this will land him in deep hot water!

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He also stupidly on his original claim form stated that the tenants has not returned the keys so had a lock smith change the locks, he stated the day this happened which was the day following the section 21 running out.

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He also stupidly on his original claim form stated that the tenants has not returned the keys so had a lock smith change the locks, he stated the day this happened which was the day following the section 21 running out.
h

 

Well I can only hope he’s done this out of stupidity and not arrogance, however I fear it’s the latter. I would now be trying to settle out of court and hope that they don’t realise that he has also committed at least one criminal offence, if he does end up in front of a Judge then he needs to apologise and offer to make it right, I don’t see how he could mitigate his actions without looking a nasty bit of work.

 

As it stands he’s looking at both a significant award against him from the civil court and also a criminal record. People can not be treated like that. Please keep us updated.

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My friend has rented his house out for a number of years.

He had a disagreement with his last tenants and decided to end their tenancy, he is currently claiming through the small claim courts for damages to property.

 

Looking at his case I believe he may be opening up a huge can of worms as he’s made a few mistakes as listed below

 

1. When starting the tenancy he took a deposit which was not protected - the tenants are aware of this

 

2. He issued a section 21 notice 3 weeks before rent was due - the tenants were up to date with rent

 

3. He left them in the notice period with no hot water or heating and did not supply alternative heating - it was winter so property became very damp, the tennant withheld rent for this reason

 

4. When the section 21 notice finished he changed the locks without an eviction notice - the tenants still had furniture in the property

 

He is now trying to claim for damages to property as House was not left tidy, owing rent, and damages totalling £5000

 

The tenants have refuted his claims stating that they did not have a chance to empty the property or tidy it up to an acceptable condition due to being illegally evicted.

 

Am I right in thinking the courts will throw the book at him and potentially side with the tenants as he did not follow the correct legal proceedings?

 

 

Well there’s some good news about the section 21 notice in point No.2 It’s a no fault notice so the point about rent being due/paid up is irrelevant. However, the other points have done for him. I’m not sure but I do think that failure to provide heating/hot water on purpose is a criminal offence.

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The good news about the S.21 is that it is “no fault” is negated by the fact that it wasn’t a valid S.21 notice......

Additionally, even if it were valid, if T doesn’t leave, then LL still has to go to court for a possession order.

 

The S.21 notice not requiring any fault isn’t really of any significance here.

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The good news about the S.21 is that it is “no fault” is negated by the fact that it wasn’t a valid S.21 notice......

Additionally, even if it were valid, if T doesn’t leave, then LL still has to go to court for a possession order.

 

The S.21 notice not requiring any fault isn’t really of any significance here.

 

Ah of course, failure to protect deposit! Doh, silly me.

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Thanks for the feedback, he’s placed himself in a no win situation I think, from the defence the tenants have submitted in response to the initial claim the tenants are aware that firstly the whole situation in which the landlord has gained entry and removed their belongings was an illegal eviction, he’s also disposed of in excess (they claim) of £2500 of furniture and belongings, and they’ve also stated that the deposit wasn’t protected so I’m guessing they also know they can claim just for that.

He’s of the belief that he will be granted £5000 for repairs/removal/cleaning/lock, he said he’s received legal advice prior to filing the claim but I fear he may have failed to tell his solicitor that he entered the property illegally and hasn’t protected the deposit!

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Thanks for the feedback, he’s placed himself in a no win situation I think, from the defence the tenants have submitted in response to the initial claim the tenants are aware that firstly the whole situation in which the landlord has gained entry and removed their belongings was an illegal eviction, he’s also disposed of in excess (they claim) of £2500 of furniture and belongings, and they’ve also stated that the deposit wasn’t protected so I’m guessing they also know they can claim just for that.

He’s of the belief that he will be granted £5000 for repairs/removal/cleaning/lock, he said he’s received legal advice prior to filing the claim but I fear he may have failed to tell his solicitor that he entered the property illegally and hasn’t protected the deposit!

 

I genuinely hope he did not get that advice from the place that advised about the eviction.

 

So you are saying that even after all this he still thinks he is going to be succesful, when is the court date? Thank you again for the up date, I am very interested to see the outcome.

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I fear the legal advice may be via google!

The case has just been transferred to the county court hearing centre for allocation so no date set yet.

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I fear the legal advice may be via google!

The case has just been transferred to the county court hearing centre for allocation so no date set yet.

 

Oh!

 

Please keep updating your post. It will be very interesting to see the outcome, especially for people just like him and people who have landlords like him.

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Just an update. Date set for September however the landlord now has to pay a further £350 for allocation, I’m hoping this is a deterrent from taking it further but we will see!

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Just an update. Date set for September however the landlord now has to pay a further £350 for allocation, I’m hoping this is a deterrent from taking it further but we will see!

 

Further update, landlord has requested mediation rather than court hearing but the tenants have rejected mediation on the grounds of illegal eviction, non protection of deposit, disposal of furniture and non provision of heating/hot water.

This is going to court on the 18th September I think the tenants have a very strong defence, I cannot convince my friends husband- the landlord; to drop the case so how would you say he’s best proceeding? Personally I think he’s in with a shock

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This is going to court on the 18th September I think the tenants have a very strong defence, I cannot convince my friends husband- the landlord; to drop the case so how would you say he’s best proceeding?

 

Advise him that perhaps he should look at selling a couple of assets (maybe his house) and be prepared to pay out a four figure sum in compensation and costs.

 

Have the (ex)tenants filed a counter claim ?


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Further update, landlord has requested mediation rather than court hearing but the tenants have rejected mediation on the grounds of illegal eviction, non protection of deposit, disposal of furniture and non provision of heating/hot water.

This is going to court on the 18th September I think the tenants have a very strong defence, I cannot convince my friends husband- the landlord; to drop the case so how would you say he’s best proceeding? Personally I think he’s in with a shock

 

Unfortunately we all learn lessons in different ways. The laws were put in place to provide punishment for those who take actions like this. I think it's important to call this chap exactly what he is, a rogue landlord who's complete disregard for the law has caught him out.

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Ok further update. Court hearing set for 2 weeks time. The landlord has provided the tenant with a file of evidence, within this file he has admitted everything including

1) never having seen the need to use a deposit scheme as they use a secure account instead

2) a letter from landlord to tennant threatening to remove them from the property within 7days (within the section21 notice period)

3) multiple statements from neighbours which all look identical - I fear these may be false

4) invoices from a locksmith stating the date he changed the locks

5) multiple pictures of the tennants property within the house and a statement saying he took it to the tip

 

I think in this document he may have completely thrown the book at himself.

By some small miracle is there a chance the judge may look past all the wrong move and just look at the costs it took to prepare the house for rerental?

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Just another thought. The tenants have instructed a solicitor could the landlord be liable for these cost?

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Just another thought. The tenants have instructed a solicitor could the landlord be liable for these cost?

 

What track has it been allocated to?

If to the small clams track, has his litigation behaviour been manifestly unreasonable??

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Yes to small claims. Who’s behaviour are we talking about? Landlord or tenant

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Yes to small claims.

 

Costs in the small claims track are strictly limited unless there has been entirely unreasonable behaviour.

 

Who’s behaviour are we talking about? Landlord or tenant

 

Both, but who are you saying has behaved badly?

The LL, correct?

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I think both have however the landlords failure to adhere to simple laws the rental of the property and the processes used to remove tenants out weighs the tenants wrong doings I fear

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Just another thought. The tenants have instructed a solicitor could the landlord be liable for these cost?

 

Legal costs are not usually awarded in small claims track. However, they can be awarded against a party who has behaved unreasonably.

 

From what you've posted so far this particular landlord sounds as unreasonable as they come. Based on the limited information in this thread it sounds like there is a very good chance of him losing the case, being ordered to pay a penalty for not protecting the deposit and being ordered to pay the claimant's legal costs.

 

3) multiple statements from neighbours which all look identical - I fear these may be false

This is the worst of it. If the judge concludes that the landlord has been dishonest in his evidence, the landlord is highly likely to be ordered to pay the claimant's legal costs.

 

By some small miracle is there a chance the judge may look past all the wrong move and just look at the costs it took to prepare the house for rerental?

This is possible - anything can happen in court. But I don't think it will be easy for the judge to overlook blatent non-compliance with the requirement to protect a deposit, fraudulent evidence and what sounds like an illegal eviction.

 

The landlord has got himself in a real mess here. The best advice might be to try and reach a settlement with the Claimants before getting to court.


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