Taken to Court by no win no fee solicitor?

Taken to Court by no win no fee solicitor?

16:44 PM, 18th January 2021, About 5 months ago 25

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My tenant complained of mould, but would not let me or my workers into the property. He then said he had decorated (he hadn’t) and no more mention of mould.

He was clearly causing this by various things he was doing including a tumble dryer with no outlet and a paraffin heater. I served an eviction notice after the police had issued him with an anti-social behaviour warning and notice. He told my other tenants he was going to pay me back!

Then I received a letter of claim from a no win no fee solicitor. They want £3500 and legal costs, but I have no idea what they are claiming for as they will not say and will not provide costs for their service, yet they want me to settle. This could be thousands of pounds.

I have proof from workers, the police, other tenants that he would not allow access to the flat. We are now about to go to court. It is costing me £1000s for my solicitor and then ultimately a barrister. It is costing him nothing.

He has done a runner leaving a totally vandalised flat. Even if I win, which I should, he is on benefits, so he won’t be able to pay any costs to me. Has anybody else experienced this and got any advice?

I’m told this is a new scam and landlords often pay to get rid of the problem. I actually believe in justice and as I have done nothing wrong I am inclined to go to Court. I have also found, too late for me, that for very little money landlords can get insurance and I highly recommend you do.

My solicitor estimates court costs to be around £15000 if we win!!

Barbara



Comments

by Ian R

17:04 PM, 18th January 2021, About 5 months ago

Hi Barbara, firstly do you have legal protection under your landlord insurance or home contents policy? If so, speak to them and pass them the letter. Have you actually received notice of a claim from the County Court or just a threat of an intended claim? If it’s a small claims court action they are required to file the detail of the claim and actual evidence with the courts for a real action. Also, there is usually no risk of costs against you - the claimant basically has to hand over most of the claim sum to their ‘legal’ representatives. Sadly there is a lot of dodgy legal letters sent (not necessarily by real solicitors) which try and trip people into paying out out of fear of action... Terrible and I wish there was a proper complaints procedure with the SRA for these sort of low life practices that issue such correspondence - however it appears you can only complain about them if you are their client.... This is the perfect example of why you need a good legal expenses cover to avoid getting doubly ripped off by a legal practice who will defend you with a view to maximising their income from you regardless of outcome.

by Prakash Tanna

10:49 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

I would tell the 'no win no fee' Solicitor to go stick his letters where the sun don't shine and unless they issue proceeding in MCOL or the local courts they should not write to you again. If they do, you'll see it as harassment. They need to put a case forward and disclose what they are claiming for. If you have evidence of no wrong doing then you have nothing to worry about.

You mentioned other tenants, does that suggest it's a HMO? If so, do you have the correct licence in place and all the required certificates. It could be the tenant is claiming back rent paid if you did not comply with legislation ??

by Barbara Farrington

11:08 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Prakash Tanna at 19/01/2021 - 10:49
Sadly I didnt know about the insurance policies available and to be honest would never have thought they were needed. I have a solicitor after receiving really nasty emails from the opposition. I will be advising the law society at some stage. Im already £2000 down and they are now going to take me to Court! The tenant will have to provide his address at that point which will be interesting as he left withouit providing it. Thanks for your reply.

by Barbara Farrington

11:10 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Barbara Farrington at 19/01/2021 - 11:08
Thanks for your reply. Its a 4 flat complex, all individual flats. I feel the same as you but I still think it is unjust that a claim can be made with absolutely no evidence. Even the surveyors report could only find just over £1000 of work and most of that was for scaffolding! The surveyor failed to mention the damage he has clearly caused including painting out one window totally and damaging two bay windows which is costing me £1300 to replace! Its so unfair

by llsimpleton

11:15 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

What you can do is to complain to the court that you don't understand what the case is about. This will result in a hearing with a judge to sort out the case. I did when a tenant took me to court and their case was so confusing I didn't understand it and complained to the court and I got a hearing to sort it out. This will force the no win company to show what they have got and as this will delay things quite considerable as there is a court back log of about 12 -18 months!!

by Prakash Tanna

11:16 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Barbara Farrington at 19/01/2021 - 11:08
Good luck with it and keep the forum posted with what happens and the outcome.

I'm surprised you have instructed a Solicitor and spent £2k before going to court, which often never actually happens. In the first instance it's always cost effective and sensible to respond yourself without instructing expensive Solicitors!

To give an example, I had a tenant who abandoned a studio flat as he could no longer afford to pay. He left a signed letter and keys inside the flat. All I got was a text msg the day he went.

A few months later he sent me a letter saying he had been illegally evicted and I had stolen £60k worth of his items ranging from his great grand-mothers wedding jewellery to the latest gadgets only the rich and famous buy!

At the same time a mountain of debt collection letters were stacking up for his unpaid bills. Needless to say I laughed at his letter and told him politely to p**s off !! That was 5yrs ago. He crawled back under the rock he surfaced from and never came back.

If you need advise or any assistance feel free to get in touch at Info@TannaProperty.com.

by Ian R

11:21 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Barbara Farrington at 19/01/2021 - 11:08
Hi Barbara, you mention other tenants in your post, therefore you really do need to takeout appropriate Landlord insurance with legal expenses cover. If you just have ‘ordinary buildings’ insurance and you have not declared the lettings, then you may in reality have no insurance whatsoever. I’d strongly recommend you check your insurance policies ASAP for your own protection. If these are apartments within an insured block, then you can still get a Landlords policy for your apartments which provides you with legal expenses and more importantly Property Owners Liability insurance in case a tenant or their guests have an accident within the property. Policies are not that expensive and you could test out the broker who is always being promoted on here. By the way I am a retired property insurance broker so not promoting this for my benefit.

by Barbara Farrington

11:22 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Prakash Tanna at 19/01/2021 - 11:16
Haha you sound braver than me. I was doing it myself but the letters just got nastier and more threatening. They dont have a leg to stand on but for me it was worth getting rid of the stress by using somebody who knows the system. They have "withdrawn" the S36 offer which according to my solicitor was a silly move and possibly shows they have done something wrong! Lets hope so. Im planning on a counter claim so the solictor fees will be added in even though he has no money. I think making him bankrupt will still disrupt his life

by Barbara Farrington

11:27 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Alan Rogers at 19/01/2021 - 11:15
Great idea thanks. I have been given three photographs of posible disrepair but as he would not allow access for 2 years Im not able to do anything about it. They have asked for £3500 with no explaination about what it is for so I think asking a court is a great idea.

by Lindsay Keith

11:43 AM, 19th January 2021, About 5 months ago

Mr Tanna seems well informed and able. However, that's not everyone. It's very easy to give yourself away if goaded by one of the 'bandit' firms mentioned.
Granted, I am a retired solicitor so probably not speaking from an entirely neutral stance. In my previous job, I dealt with a shoal of these rascals, many from 'bandit country', aka Merseyside. If you know the claim is false, say so and threaten to report the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.. Make sure your papers are in good order. Good luck!

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