Landlords Help Please – Court summons in 14 days

by Readers Question

15:46 PM, 1st October 2018
About 3 years ago

Landlords Help Please – Court summons in 14 days

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Landlords Help Please – Court summons in 14 days

Calling Landlords – I’ve had a County Court request come through today for one of our current tenants of which we had failed to insure their deposit. This was pure human error where my husband was admitted to hospital for a severe heart operation at only 44 years old literally just after she’d rented from us a separate house. Life was a whirlwind with 3 young kids, and yes this was totally overlooked.

We are hot on protection, but purely and unluckily this slipped through our net and it’s far too late, and the request for the penalty of 3x the deposit is being requested. The tenant had started failing to pay and pay her rent, and have gone off the rails with drugs. And now is after us for a claim.

I am after advice of anyone who has been taken to court, how much the court awarded? the full 3x? or did any one get 1x? Any tips for us for a counter claim?

Time is of the essence, because of the 14 day reply. Please don’t just reply to say we deserve it due to our failings, I’m totally aware of this, but sometimes we are humans, and this was human error. We have agreed payment options with this tenant and helped her in various ways, we always return deposits and are very fair landlords. Talk about it all being thrown in our face…. Any help on our side would be appreciated for our claim.

Thanks in advance.

Lou

Comments

Mike

11:32 AM, 2nd October 2018
About 3 years ago

Hi Lou, this goes to show you how some tenants deliberately target good landlords, please stop taking deposit as it is 100% not worth it, and all the hassle that goes with it trying to open account with DPS and then when you have to claim it off, just not worth a penny.

Ian Narbeth

11:55 AM, 2nd October 2018
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 02/10/2018 - 11:32
We have taken dozens of deposits over the past few years. We are very careful (verging on being paranoid) to register them with the DPS and to provide the Prescribed Information paperwork to our tenants. On a few occasions we have had to claim. Either the tenant agrees the amount or in one or two cases they failed to respond and we got paid.

We think it is worth taking deposits. Cash is king. Pursuing a guarantor through the courts is not easy. The courts bend over backwards and sideways to let guarantors off on technicalities so unless the arrears are several thousand I would expect to spend as much on the claim as is in dispute and with no guarantee of recovering costs.

The 1x to 3x penalty is Draconian and unnecessary. The law was brought in to stop landlords and agents disappearing with the tenants' money. It would have been possible to devise a "fairer" system that balance the parties' competing interests. Instead we have the blackmailers' charter where the bad tenant (who is in breach and being pursued for non-payment) can threaten the landlord with a claim where the court MUST penalise the landlord even in a case such as here where there is a reasonable excuse. The legislation does not provide any reasonable excuse defence.

AA

19:40 PM, 2nd October 2018
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 02/10/2018 - 11:55
That is spot on. Money is King. There has to be a real target for the tenant to focus on - i.e. the deposit. Not something abstract like the guarantor. You should though also take on a guarantor for potential losses above the deposit. Not taking a deposit sends a bad signal to the tenant and also takes away the tenant having an interest ( in looking after) the property. It is a joke though that a judge MUST at least give 1x if you slip up. Reasonableness went out the window with that one.

Valerie Legenza

11:37 AM, 6th October 2018
About 3 years ago

Happened to me, only without the heart complications. My Solicitor said I didn't have a leg to stand on and suggested negotiating with them before it reaches court. This ensures that I don't end up with the possibility of paying their solicitor's expenses and court fees which would have been substantial apparently. I offered 2 x deposit and we settled on 2.5x. (£2500)
Interestingly the whole situation arose because the tenants wanted to avoid a £250 cleaning bill at the end of the tenancy. But instead of just using the deposit situation as leverage, they went for the Jugular. A group of six 20 year old female students, who where sweet as pie all year.

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