Ex-tenant threatening legal action over parking?

by Readers Question

10:13 AM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

Ex-tenant threatening legal action over parking?

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Ex-tenant threatening legal action over parking?

A tenant that has recently vacated one of our properties left the place in such a state that we said we would need to keep some of his deposit to cover deep cleaning and removal of many items left behind. His deposit is with ‘My Deposit’ – all arranged by the agent that lets out the property.

Obviously disgruntled by this, the tenant has written a letter to my home address which he found on the Land registry with the title ‘Notice of intended legal action’. The action is related to various complaints the tenant has against the way the agent dealt with past issues he had since the beginning of his tenancy in December 2017.

I cannot comment on most of the issues with the agent as I am not aware of the issues he supposedly had but I will say that any property maintenance issues he had that I was made aware of by the agent were dealt with immediately by me. The most bizarre issue which I remember him complaining about at the beginning of the tenancy was that the off-road parking at the property had a camber that interfered with the parking of his vehicle. He mentioned at the time that he was wondering if he could alter the camber to accommodate his vehicle.

We presumed he had a very low vehicle as we had ourselves previously parked our SLK on there many times and tenants before him never complained about this. We mentioned this to the agent and didn’t hear about the issue again for the whole time he lived there. Now he has brought this up in the letter to us stating that the property should not be marketed as having off-road parking and complaining that he had had to obtain a parking permit, park on the road and had his car damaged by passers-by.

He suggests that the rent he was paying should have been reduced due to the fact he couldn’t park his car there satisfactorily. The mind boggles, why would he stay there for 2 and a half years if he was not happy? I am very unhappy with this threat of legal action – particularly as during a period when he failed to pay the rent on time due to financial difficulties we were very lenient and understanding and agreed to let him pay when he could.

I have now got to speak to the agent to discuss the letter but just wondered if anyone has any thoughts on this. Is the tenant able to sue me or the agent as they were managing the tenancy? This is the closing paragraph:

‘While the claim value of the deposit is fixed at £1730, the total claim value will be marked as ‘unspecified’ on the N1 form in order to allow the Judge discretion in ordering any multiples of the deposit value as penalties, and any order of compensation for the above breaches, totalling no more than £10,000. The total value or rent, deposit and fees paid between December 2017 – August 2020 equates to approx. £41,400.’

Any helpful comments welcome, please.

Nancy


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Comments

Neil Patterson

10:21 AM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

Hi Nancy,

You could try contacting Landlords Defence >> https://www.property118.com/member/?id=36518

Lindsay Keith

10:58 AM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

Agree with Neil. At least get a decent litigation lawyer, not someone who sees court papers every 6 months if that often.
When he sees you have sharp teeth, he may disappear. He may even disappear earlier if his solicitor tells him properly about costs. So far as I am aware, he cannot get legal aid for this.
Remember, litigation is invariably expensive and, if you win, you may never see your costs. You mention he had financial difficulties, a man of straw trying to fly a kite?
Good luck!

moneymanager

11:23 AM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

On a general point re parking we no longer include it in our ASTs, although it reduces the deposit slightly we licence, specifically not "let", spaces under a very detailed sperate agreement which specifies such as "parking at own risk" and unavailability due to thrid party unauthorised use.

John Mac

11:34 AM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

So what exactly are you being Sued for?

The multiples of the deposit values are there for a Judge to award in the case where the deposit was not protected.

paul kaye

11:44 AM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

I would tell him see you in court !!!!!!!!!!!!! and just wait.It will cost him to go to court.The judge will not entertain his claim after 2.5 years !!!!!!!!!!! and it is a try on !
Ignore him.Sort any damages etc and advise him of the deductions.

Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing & Defence

11:50 AM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

Hi Nancy

The big worry is that your tenant is trying to mover to either a Rent Repayment Order claim for up to a year's rent, a deposit protection claim of up to 3x the deposit and /or a claim under the Housing Fitness for Human Habitation Act.

We would be happy to take a quick look at the notice of claim for you.
Please forward the letter and N1 notice together with any relevant correspondence to help@landlordsdefence.co.uk together with this information (in confidence of course)
Did the property need to have at any time during the tenancy
* A Selective Licence
* A Mandatory (5 or more persons) licence
* An Additional (3 or more persons) licence
Was the property at any time during the tenancy without any such licence?

Please mention in the email that you are responding to our comment on Property118.com

terry sullivan

12:31 PM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

does parking fall under housing fitness--i would think not

Puzzler

14:16 PM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

Unless you hear from a solicitor, I wouldn't do anything. Even then just write back and make your points. I doubt it would go anywhere.

SAJ

15:21 PM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

From what you have written, it seems the Tenant clearly trying it on - nothing to lose. Be mindful, if the Tenant refuses to agree with your deductions etc and arbitration it is my understanding that the Deposit Scheme does not release any funds to either party and you will have to apply to the court for determination....

Michael Holmes

20:17 PM, 14th September 2020
About A week ago

I would be very wary of getting involved with lawyers. Just tell him NO and if he takes it further, get the agents to deal with it. They should be insured for this type of scenario.

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