Had a CCJ demanding 3 times the deposit

by Readers Question

10:27 AM, 13th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Had a CCJ demanding 3 times the deposit

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Had a CCJ demanding 3 times the deposit

Stupidly, and I mean very stupidly, did not put a tenants deposit in a deposit protection scheme. Had a CCJ demanding 3 times the deposit

They have just told me they are emigrating to Australia and have said in an mail that they are not going to be paying the last months rent. Now to top it off they have issued a CCJ demanding three times the deposit plus £105 for court costs.

They are also refusing me entry.

Up until now we have had a good relationship but they are totally exploiting the situation for monetary gain.

Do I have any rights or have I blown them all out the window by not putting the deposit in a scheme?

I used to use a letting agent but the tenant and myself decided to do it between ourselves.

We couldn’t agree on a contract so we verbally said what we wanted, I wanted 2-3 months notice but they have only give me one and that is not in writing.

Thanks in advance for any helpful suggestions.

Regards

Steve Morton



Comments

Mark Alexander

11:10 AM, 13th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Steve

I feel your pain!

Earlier this year I drove past a Gatso camera doing 34 MPH in a 30 area. Flash, flash and there I was, two months later, spending an afternoon courtesy of a government funded driver speed awareness course. Nevertheless, I did the crime so I did the time. I wasn't happy though because it all felt so unjust and a waste of tax payers time and money. There were no other cars or people around at the time I got zapped either.

On Thursday this week I did exactly the same thing. GRRR!!! I'm expecting the unwelcome envelope through my door any day now. Not what I wanted for Xmas and this time a fine, points on my licence and inflated insurance premiums are inevitable.

Anyhow, back to your problems ....... you say you've got a CCJ. Are you sure that's what you've got or have you received a summons? They are very different.

The maximum fine is return of the deposit plus 3 times the deposit. The minimum a judge can award is return of the deposit plus one times the deposit as compensation for failing to protect a deposit.

From what you have said, your tenants are capitalising on your naivety to help fund their trip to Australia. They probably want the money quickly and there is every chance that you will be able to stall proceedings. That will make things difficult for them if they want to go to Australia sooner rather than later. Therefore, you may well be in a good position to negotiate.

Tell them that you are going to file a defence on the basis that they made a verbal agreement to pay their last months rent in advance and that on that basis you did not consider it to be a deposit. Also tell them that you are going to counter claim two months rent of the basis that your verbal agreement was that they would give you three months notice and they have only given one. These are both flaky arguments at best but given the circumstances you should at least put them to them. You have nothing to lose.

Then, make them a "Without Prejudice" offer to settle the matter for one months rent and that they will not be required to make their last months payment either. If they decline, explain to them that a judge could rule that they get nothing on the basis of your defence. Also, that the judge could rule that your counter claim is valid. It's a long shot because I doubt any judge would rule that way in reality, but on the day you just never know. If the judge takes a dislike to your tenants and sees through their fund raising scheme at your expense he may just back you up.

Hopefully your tenants will accept your offer and take the money. If they do, get a solicitor to help you draft the settlement agreement and make sure the court case is cancelled.

Whatever the outcome, you are just going to have to chalk this up to experience and learn from it in much the same way that I am going to have to do in respect of my driving misdemeanour's.

There will also be way that you can defer the Court case and that could also scupper their travel plans. I don't know much about that but I'm sure that a bit of Googling will reveal the answers for you.

All the best and please let me know how you get on.
.

Steve Morton

14:21 PM, 13th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks Mark

Its a claim sent to us by the county court (small claims) from the tennants i have 14 days to respond if i agree to the claim in full (or part), and can claim 28 days if i wish to contest but if i do that and loose there will be more costs and i will have a cci against me, they have evidence in email that they tried to get me to put it in a scheme but as i have said i was too busy and when the shut up about it i never did it that was 3 months ago, i was thinking my only hope is what you have suggested and that is reply to the claim via the county court (closer to the 14 days) offering i months rent and just list that the tennants did not pay the last month and did not inform me, when i realised 9 days later and rang them they told me to use the deposit as the last months rent have it in an email they sent me that they were refusing to pay the last month because i had not paid the deposit into a scheme so there is no deposit? also i had someone interested in buying the property but they emailed me to say there was no way they would allow entry
It is so frustrating that i have done everything for these tenants new washing machine new cooker new lights i could have got second hand ones
Is it the judges decision then on the amount or wether the tenants accept it or not?
and if it went further would they need to be in the country to attend the small claims court

Steve Morton

14:31 PM, 13th December 2014
About 4 years ago

I forgot we also had a harassment letter from the council and we have broken some harassment act and if we continue we would be arrested !!!!!!!
when they told me that they were not going to pay the rent i told them that they would have to leave then asap!! also i wanted access to view the property which they denied
that is the only way i have been in touch with them (hardly harassment)

We feel we are the ones being harassed not them its one thing after another

Mark Alexander

17:40 PM, 13th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Steve

My initial advice stands.

Discuss what I wrote in my first reply with your tenants and let them know that if they decline your offer you will be counter claiming as per my initial suggestions. Then delay the case as much as possible. I know that cases can be delayed for up to 18 months because a friend of mine had it done to him. On three separate occasions the trial was rearranged on the morning it was due because the other side was too ill to attend! I recall that one of the reasons given was that she had found a spot on the back of her hand which she thought could be cancer. Of course it turned out to be nothing!
.

Jessie Jones

17:26 PM, 14th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Steve,
You have every right to a counter claim for loss of rent and also because they have denied you access to market your property.
You have no idea what state the house is in and whether the house needs remedial work before you can re-let it.
Politely decline making any payment to them and certainly do not accept any liability.
If you do have a Court summons then make the Court aware that you intend to contest the case but that the tenants are not allowing you to assess the size of your counter claim and that you cannot do this until they have left.
By which time they will be in Australia.
Put the deposit in a scheme now and serve the relevant papers on the tenant. Late compliance is better than zero compliance and in the unlikely event that this did go to Court then a judge is likely to err on the side of leniency, and take into account any failure by the tenant to pay their rent or damage the property.
Valuable lesson learned eh?

Philippe Barford

14:23 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "13/12/2014 - 11:10":

My reply to Mark Alexander is.....Get a Road Angel fitted in your car!

No more speeding tickets. Simples!

Mark Alexander

14:29 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Philippe Barford" at "15/12/2014 - 14:23":

Hi Philippe

My Sat-Nav beeps to warn me of speeding camera's.

However, on both occasions I had turned the volume off.

D'oh!
.

Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law)

14:33 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

@Mark A @Jessie Jones

I'm starting to feel a bit redundant-I can't improve on your collective advices!

Alan Loughlin

15:00 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

simple, don't take a deposit, charge an admin fee instead, less hassle, less risk, and you keep the dosh.

Jessie Jones

16:24 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alan Loughlin" at "15/12/2014 - 15:00":

Alan,
A deposit is more than a means of recuperating losses caused by damage.
It gives the tenant a reason to look after a house. If we didn't take deposits and if the tenant doesn't have a good chance of getting most, if not all of it back then it would be likely that a great deal less care might be taken by a lot of tenants.
Your idea of taking a large 'admin' fee instead of a deposit may well gain you a healthy profit up-front. But I would anticipate greater costs when the tenant leaves.

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