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Complete A solicitor client is refusing to pay for a new kitchen and bathroom installed in his property. **Settled**


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You talk in terms of a "counterclaim" – but it isn't a counterclaim until court proceedings are issued by you and then he decides to claim something in return.

You are being bullied and intimidated. There is no doubt. At one point he says he starting a pre-action protocol and of course that is a prelude to bringing action. On the other hand, he is saying that you owe him money – in fact he is saying that you are him more money than he owes you.

The answer is yes of course you can claim. This guy isn't going to make it easy and don't imagine it is going to be quick. I can imagine that this guy is going to complicate the issue and the only hope is that he starts to behave so unreasonably that you can claim back some litigant in person costs which I think are currently £18 per hour.

Most of the stuff this guy is writing is a rant and probably if you issue a claim he will then start to become a little bit more careful about the way he expresses things and what he is saying will become more clear. However if he continues ranting then although it will be more difficult to understand what he is going on about, it will help you because it will make it clear to the court that he really is simply a bully and a troublemaker.

It's clear to me that he has no intention of starting action and he has no intention of claiming any money from you. What he's trying to do is to frighten you into going away without any payment.

If you want to bring a claim then we will help you. Because his rants are so messy, it's difficult to understand the strength of any counterclaims but it's important that any delays were apparently agreed by him as it went along. You have evidence of this I expect –?

If you do start a court claim then you may as well claim all of the losses that you think you have suffered and maybe you would itemise those here.

Have you ever brought a claim before? Have you ever been on the receiving end of one? Are you familiar with the steps involved in taking a small claim in the County Court?

It seems to me that if you want to bring a claim then you better make a quick decision and let's get to it. This guy is mucking around and I think you need to show that you are going to get businesslike about it.

I certainly wouldn't get involved in any more correspondence with him. You are simply feeding the troll

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Incidentally it will be extremely useful if you can find out any of the information I asked you about above in terms of whether the property complied with all of the regulations for a commercial let.

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I understand. I'll contact the gas engineer and electrician to enquire.

 

Please note that client had more than 2 months after project completion to sort out all of these issues.

The only way to be sure would to be visit the property to check. Is this a wise. We still have a key unless he has changed the locks

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No I wouldn't visit the property. In fact if you have a key I would return it to him.

Make sure that the return is accompanied with a written note.

 

Other than that I suggest you do everything you can to find out information about it's suitability as a commercial let

 

 

 

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You can also visit the land registry web search site and for £3 get information about the ownership of the property and also if there is a mortgage on it.

It would be interesting to know how old the mortgage is because we might get a clue as to whether the lender knows that it is now being used for commercial purposes

 

 

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The gas engineer had confirmed that he issued a gas safe certificate. The client would not pay him the £90 fee and so the gas engineer informed the client that the certificate would be cancelled. Only then did he pay.

The client appointed the electrician and I have no contact details.

 

I will research the land registry and advise what I find. Thanks for the tip.

We will return the key to the address with a covering email to the client to advise him. Since moving out he has not provided a forwarding address and contact is by email only.

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In terms of the key, send it special delivery to the only address you have. Notify him by email that you are about to do this. Give him three or four days to object and to give you a different address – or else send it.

Yes, a statement from the gas engineer would be extremely helpful. However, I find that people are wary once a think that they are doing something formal. If you I wouldn't asking for a statement.

Do you know this person personally? Do you have their email address? It would be easier to try and slip it into an email communication in a way which will invite a response. If you said something like "is it really the case that he refused to pay you until he was threatened with the loss of the certificate? How long will it all take to get the money and had any pay you?"

Something like that might produce a reply giving you some useful information and then if you need a formal statement later, we can deal with that but at least you've got it in writing.

 

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Re the key. We'll follow your instructions.

 

Re the land registry. I have paid the fee and can confirm that the property is owned outright by the client. There is no mortgage.

 

Re the gas engineer report. He is a close subcontractor friend. I will contact him and request a written account by email of his bad interaction he had the client about payment

 

Re my enquiry about Money claim. 

We have no previous experience of the Money claim procedure but we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to get the money we are owed which is the full £4k for the project, the £967 for the extra work done and £360 for 20hrs of a Litigation persons support.

 

I agree we need to step up the pressure on the client to show we are being more professional about this do. I presume we do this by referring the matter to the Money Claim or Small claims system. If so will you be able to guide us through the process and advise when should we start the application. In my view,  anytime after 15th December which is after the 7 days notice we afforded him to pay. 

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We'll see if you can find any more information about it. Did anybody notice any smoke alarms?

How many people are living in the house now? Are they all part of the same household or is it split up into bedsits?

In terms of litigant in person expenses, you will be up to claim those yet. We will have to see how it goes – but certainly you should start keeping a meticulous note of all the time you are preparing, learning, writing, phoning. Keep a separate meticulous know about any expenses you incur.

You will only stand a chance of claiming litigant in person costs if he litigates unreasonably and causes undue inconvenience or delay. Even then it is a matter of discretion for the court – but you may as well keep prepared.

There is no point putting pressure. It won't make any difference. Stop corresponding – I'm sorry to say that your letters are basically unhelpful and show weakness.

The next it will simply be to send a letter of claim.

However see what other information you can find out about first of all

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No one noticed any smoke alarms.

No one knows who or how many occupy the property. All we know is that when we left the property it was still a 3 bed house.

I could visit the property, just knock on the door and ask the occupants living there if you like. I'll take a friend for support.

 

We have no intention of replying to any more correspondence from the client unless you advise to do so.

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I should be very careful about visiting the property if I were you. If you do visit the property then I think you should certainly not disclose who you are. I'm not sure how you are going to manage it and I'm not even sure that the information would be useful – but on the other hand it wouldn't hurt to have information if it is available.

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I'm afraid I can't think of an alternative – but then I don't know the area and I don't know the house and I don't know the other builders or tradesmen around – maybe you do.

And just to correct you on one point, – it's not the info that I seek. It's the info that you seek. It's your case. We are giving you support

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Returning the key is the excuse I wanted to use but you advised not to. To me it fits perfectly to speak to the occupants and just ask some simple questions about the improvements and occupants.

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Sadly no. The house is sited in an area that I don't visit very often.

As it happens and purely by chance I will be around there tomorrow so I'll look for clues.

 

 

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I walked by the property yesterday.

It was occupied.

The estate agents board was clearly displayed. The agent is long established and is highly respected in our city. As such it would be fair to assume that the property complies with all the regulations necessary to allow the property to be let.

 

 

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No I don't think there are any assumptions to be made.

You might like to get somebody to make discreet enquiries of the estate agent to find out more about the tenancy. What is it that it is available. How long has it been on the market? – Any information you can find out.

Probably none of it will be useful – but you may as well gather some intelligence if you can.

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And I asked earlier, you think you are prepared to go ahead and make a claim against this guy?

I think your chances of success are excellent – but don't expect it to be quick or easy. It seems to me that this defendant will do everything in his power to make the whole thing difficult and unpleasant.
The only good thing about that is that hopefully the judge will recognise that.

If he keeps on using the kind of strident tone that he has you so far in correspondence to you, then it won't take long for the judge to understand what is going on.

However, I think you had better settle down for at least 6 months to 9 months before this matter is resolved – and maybe longer

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We are prepared to do whatever the Small claims system requires to get the money we are owed even if it takes 6-9 months. We'll add lost interest and the court fees to the claim.

 

By going though the Small claim process, we will learn from it and be better prepared to use the process should the need arise in the future. Your support and guidance will be most appreciated.

 

 

 

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Okay, I suggest that you draft a letter of claim and post it here.

Keep it shockingly scant.

Same with the claim.

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  • BankFodder changed the title to A solicitor client is refusing to pay for a new kitchen and bathroom installed in his property. **Settled**
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