£4,000 Legal Claim for Damages – Advice Please

£4,000 Legal Claim for Damages – Advice Please

10:09 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago 27

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I have received a Solicitor’s Letter (No Claim No Fee Solicitors) sent on behalf of my ex-tenants claiming £4,000 in compensation, although the letter doesn’t say what the compensation is for. Although over the last year of the tenancy they were continually complaining that the property was in a state of disrepair.

The letter states that ‘a global compensation of £7,600.00 will conclude this action’.

I have plenty of evidence of my attempts to access the property to carry out repairs but was given continual excuse after excuse. Plus they had three feral children and many times the tradespeople refused to go in because the children were out of control. The male tenant was often aggressive and threatening to me and the tradespeople, making it almost impossible to gain access.

I’ve been working closely with the council to gain access, but even the council recommended I don’t go into the property while they’re there because of the chaotic environment and aggression.

Also, the costs for me to repair the property after they left are in excess of £10,000.00. They left all of their furniture and belongings, the children ripped a radiator off the wall, one garden fence panel was completely missing, and they actually nailed two safety gates to the doors to keep their kids locked in!! And they took my washing machine/tumble drier without my permission. They also left owing £850 in rent arrears.

The post that is arriving for them seems to be a string of debt collection agencies chasing them for money.

The tenants are currently living in a council-run hostel while they wait for the council to put them in a three-bed house.

You get the picture.

Does anybody have any experience of dealing with claims of this type? Obviously, I don’t want to run up a load of solicitors costs if this is just them chancing their arm, but I’m obviously going to fight it if necessary.

Any guidance or shared experience would be greatly appreciated.

Pam



Comments

by Judith Wordsworth

10:21 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Reply politely asking what the claim is for. In the meantime it be worth time lining dates when you tried to get access, written docs from tradesmen/Council, and put photos in a ZIp file.
What happened re their deposit?
Might be worth drafting points for a counter claim for damage, theft etc. But do not send yet.

by Ranger78

10:23 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

OMG - This is awful. You have to fight it. With the evidence that you have, a strong rebuttal to the solicitors should see them off. Make it clear that you will issue a counterclaim for your damages and losses which far exceeds their bogus claim and hopefully you should see them off. A lot of these companies were involved with PPI claims and now they have ended, they have turned to new avenues to generate fees. Targeting landlords seems to be one of them.

by Peter

10:30 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Indeed, all of the above.

In addition, I’d be very careful about devolving the information that you know what is in the letters. It is illegal to access other peoples mail.

On a more upbeat point, I’d be very glad indeed if I were you that they’ve gone. While you think they're are tenants from hell, actually they just beginners and they weren’t really trying. You are well rid of them at a very cheap price. Remind yourself that they have a lifetime problem, i.e. themselves, and your time with them is coming to an end.

Good luck, Peter

by paul kaye

10:38 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Yes ask for more info but also advise them that your claim will be well over £10000 for damages,rent etc
they may well go away.

by Luna

10:43 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

This happened to me also - the tenant was claiming £30,000 as she said the flat had affected her health and that of her 2 daughters. You cannot ignore the letter as it has come from a solicitor and needs to be responded to from your solicitor. I contacted my insurers, who referred it to their solicitors and they dealt with the whole thing. I simply sent them evidence that there was no damp in the flat and also an inspection I had done while they were in there, proving the same.
So firstly, contact your insurers and see if you are covered for this claim. Also, start a file with all your evidence of their behaviour and how they left the flat.
Good luck!

by Ian Cognito

10:45 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Have you Googled the solicitors to find out what experience others have had?

I presume that your tenant is referred to by name in the letter?

My gut reaction is that a claim for £4,000 compensation with no mention of what for, sounds like "fishing" and should be ignored.

Once you engage, you could be "hooked".

by John Dace

10:47 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Once you know theres no fear of a claim being held against you. Keep writing with a simple query. Waste their time and money. These parasite solicitors working for parasite clients should be run ragged answering letters and re-contacting their ‘clients’ with queries. Make them work (for nothing).

by No hate plz

10:54 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

If you have legal cover, start using it! If not, you need to reply. Is it a without prejudice letter? Just say you require more information about the claim. Don't divulge any information about your defence or counter claim to early on.

by OrangeOak

11:30 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

I had this once before with tenants who were chancing it through a NWNF solicitor. Only if you're confident that you're not at fault - play them at their own game.

The key is to respond with the absolute minimum information as NWNF solicitors are looking for a quick win and don't want to have to keep engaging.

First letter - ask for details of the claim.

If they respond, ask for further details.

If they respond again - ask for evidence.

Then ask for clarification/more evidence.

Then refute the evidence (don't provide counter evidence but advise you have evidence).

Then advise you do not recognise the claim but if action is pursued, you will submit a counterclaim - but provide limited/no details.

Ultimately only a court can award damages.

Good luck.

by Peter

11:32 AM, 23rd December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

I’m afraid I disagree with John. You cannot know that you will win until it’s been to court. Running up their bill is risky because if you lose they will try and pin the additional costs on you. If your behaviour was vexatious, it is likely that the judge would agree to award costs against you.

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