£4,000 Legal Claim for Damages – Advice Please

£4,000 Legal Claim for Damages – Advice Please

10:09 AM, 23rd December 2021, About a month 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 Jennifer Aniston

10:27 AM, 27th December 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Dennis Leverett at 24/12/2021 - 10:23
Hi Dennis

So glad you won! Well done. These tenants have re-written the whole story to make me look like ruthless landlord. None of what they are saying is true, they've picked out specific comments I made in text messages taken them out of context which make it look like I am admitting fault. And this is the basis on which they're making their claim.

There's no way I'm paying the suggested £7,600.00 amount to make this go away. I can't afford it for a start. If I have to spend time preparing for court then that's what I'll have to do. I'm a very organised person so I'll definitely make sure I have every angle covered before I get to court.

But they are currently being chased by a whole host of debt collection agencies and they already have CCJ's against their name so I'm assuming they think this might be a chance for them to make a bit of money out of me because I've always been a soft touch.

I've heard such conflicting stories. My accountant says 'The courts always find in favour of the tenants. They hate landlords' and then I've heard completely the opposite!!

But although I will give people a chance (this tenant had just come out of prison and said she said that nobody would give her a chance for a new life) I'm not going to roll over and allow myself to be abused in this way.

I've hardly slept a wink since the solicitor's letter arrived. But I will fight it, on principal, if nothing else.

Thanks for sharing your experience Dennis. I hope I get the same judge as you if it comes to it!!

by Jennifer Aniston

10:28 AM, 27th December 2021, About a month ago

Hi Dennis

So glad you won! Well done. These tenants have re-written the whole story to make me look like ruthless landlord. None of what they are saying is true, they've picked out specific comments I made in text messages taken them out of context which make it look like I am admitting fault. And this is the basis on which they're making their claim.

There's no way I'm paying the suggested £7,600.00 amount to make this go away. I can't afford it for a start. If I have to spend time preparing for court then that's what I'll have to do. I'm a very organised person so I'll definitely make sure I have every angle covered before I get to court.

But they are currently being chased by a whole host of debt collection agencies and they already have CCJ's against their name so I'm assuming they think this might be a chance for them to make a bit of money out of me because I've always been a soft touch.

I've heard such conflicting stories. My accountant says 'The courts always find in favour of the tenants. They hate landlords' and then I've heard completely the opposite!!

But although I will give people a chance (this tenant had just come out of prison and said she said that nobody would give her a chance for a new life) I'm not going to roll over and allow myself to be abused in this way.

I've hardly slept a wink since the solicitor's letter arrived. But I will fight it, on principal, if nothing else.

Thanks for sharing your experience Dennis. I hope I get the same judge as you if it comes to it!!

by Smiffy

11:48 AM, 27th December 2021, About a month ago

Pamela
Good to read you are organised, having it all documented and easy to refer to will help your day in Court should it happen.
Don't fear this as an attack on you. Treat this as another project from which you gain. Manage it as you would property refurbishment, get the detail right and focus on the completion date. Adjust your mindset and be positive and on the attack.
Many years ago, I took someone to small claims court and lost. I had the case reviewed by a solicitor afterwards and he gave me this advice. "Three rules, 1. Never go into court as the plaintiff, 2. Never go into court on principle, 3. Only go to court for money." I pretty much broke all three, but what I learned was worth it in the long run.
As defendant, you already have the upper hand. Now you need to focus on the money. Principle always lurks, it's not bad to have it on your side, but don't focus on it.
Look at it this way, if you do nothing, it'll cost you £4k + costs. Although I'm sure if you made a "without prejudice" offer of half that, they'd accept. However, I'd tell them to bugger off and see if they dare proceed. Even if you walk out of court having just got their claim dismissed, but not winning the counterclaim, you'll still be £4k up on the worst case. Look at what you can easily prove and gain.
I'm sure the folk here will help, but, change your profile name, unless it is already a pseudonym!

by White Collar

22:26 PM, 27th December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Happy to have a free initial consultation up to an hour. You can book an appointment https://portal.whitecollarlegalandadmin.com

by Jennifer Aniston

9:09 AM, 29th December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Smiffy at 27/12/2021 - 11:48
Thanks Smiffy.

All good advice. Thank you.

But why change my profile name? Curious.

Pam

by Smiffy

15:41 PM, 29th December 2021, About 4 weeks ago

if your profile name is your real name and if they or their solicitor reads this "open forum", they will know what you are doing!

If a summons does appear, you may want more detailed advice.

by Penelope Poore

14:22 PM, 11th January 2022, About 2 weeks ago

I've only just got round to reading this - a very long Christmas!
For the past 18 months or so, I have been pursuing a case which was allocated to the small claims track in the County Court. We eventually won (as plaintiff) in November. I did it with the help of Which Legal, who were an enormous support. There are so many ways to slip up, and I ran everything past their advisor. Apart from all the information, it was great to have someone to talk it over with. It's a really affordable service- as far as I remember about £25 to join, and then around £10 per month.


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