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« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2022, 05:37:06 PM »

In fact I believe they discovered the breach during the tenancy and then waited until the tenancy was over before letting me know!

Very sensible indeed. I would do the same. You don't want to rock the boat while you're still intending living there for many more months... and there's no compelling deadline for them to act by. Might as well leave it until you're out of there and do it all nice and formally, by letter. They seem more canny all the time.

I really do think you're going to have to dip into your wallet. You can try to ostrich-it-out but if they're determined and assured of eventual success then it's only likely to cost you more in the long-run... take the Letter Before Action for what it is... try to put brakes on the Action part. I would be pleased if you got away with it... but that's truly what it would be - you'd "get away with it" - you're not in the right and justified.
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« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2022, 06:23:33 PM »

I think it is unfair when large penalties are imposed for a first offence,when there has been no deliberate attempt to flout the law.That seems to be the case here.However,there will be a minimum penalty regardless,of 1x deposit. I would offer them 2,250,explaining that you feel the circumstances will make it unlikely that they will get more.I know it really sticks in the throat when people have been rotten tenants,but I am sure you will feel better getting this sorted sooner than later. I am currently taking a rogue builder to Small Claims, and have been told it could be at least 9 months before it gets to court,there are backlogs.It's a large sum,and I can wait it out,but you could very possibly avoid going to court.
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« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2022, 06:27:33 PM »

I have read all of your points with interest. My overall opinion still remains the same, that this is a RIDICULOUS situation which is allowing tenants who broke their contract and the criminal law to claim excessive compensation for a mere admin mistake. Who on earth decided that this should entitle a tenant to compensation equivalent to 1 or 3 times their deposit? Given most deposits are equivalent to 5 weeks rent that means landlords can essentially lose a quarter of the year's rent for making such a small mistake. I think it is outrageous!

I am going to negotiate with the tenants. Based on what I've read here the most relevant points are:
- Their deposit was protected correctly and they knew where it was. They therefore have not suffered any financial hardship from this!
- They broke their contract by treating the property very poorly and then tried to prevent me from making deductions from their damage deposit by contesting this.
- They also behaved very poorly during their time in the property including breaking the lockdowns by holding gatherings.
- By accepting a reasonable settlement they can save us all the effort of having to go to court.
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« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2022, 06:55:42 PM »

You're upset, perhaps understandably. So I'm going to tell you this. Don't make decisions and/or reply to legal matter while you're upset. Just stop, take a step back and sleep on it till tomorrow.

They therefore have not suffered any financial hardship from this!
....

That is probably often repeated by landlord defendants representating themselves, but is largely irrelevant. Or rather, it's irrelevant to whether there will be a penalty or not (I'm assuming you're in England here). This is absolute liability, either it's complied with by the landlord or an agent on the landlord's behalf, or it isn't. Tenant's action don't make any difference. The circumstance may suggest the penalty should be on the lower end, but that mainly depends on landlord circumstances and actions not the tenant.

The next two points are not the "most relevant points". You've been repeatedly advised it's irrelevant to tenant's claim here.

Last point, yes, but that also applies to you with any offer you may make or receive.
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« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2022, 08:45:40 PM »

My overall opinion still remains the same, that this is a RIDICULOUS situation which is allowing tenants who broke their contract and the criminal law to claim excessive compensation for a mere admin mistake. Who on earth decided that this should entitle a tenant to compensation equivalent to 1 or 3 times their deposit? Given most deposits are equivalent to 5 weeks rent that means landlords can essentially lose a quarter of the year's rent for making such a small mistake. I think it is outrageous!

You might think it is outrageous - but it is the law.


However, I just want to ask a couple of questions regarding this...

Quote
Their deposit was protected correctly and they knew where it was.

How did they know where it was?

At the end of the tenancy, did the tenants initiate the repayment by logging in to the deposit company's site, armed with the correct details - or did you initiate the (partial) repayment?




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« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2022, 08:47:57 PM »

How did they know where it was?

At the end of the tenancy, did the tenants initiate the repayment by logging in to the deposit company's site, armed with the correct details - or did you initiate the (partial) repayment?

A person with enough details about the tenancy can serach for it on the company's website or call them and ask.

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/tenancy_deposits/check_your_tenancy_deposit_is_protected
Newbie
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« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2022, 08:48:57 PM »

My overall opinion still remains the same, that this is a RIDICULOUS situation which is allowing tenants who broke their contract and the criminal law to claim excessive compensation for a mere admin mistake. Who on earth decided that this should entitle a tenant to compensation equivalent to 1 or 3 times their deposit? Given most deposits are equivalent to 5 weeks rent that means landlords can essentially lose a quarter of the year's rent for making such a small mistake. I think it is outrageous!

You might think it is outrageous - but it is the law.


However, I just want to ask a couple of questions regarding this...

Quote
Their deposit was protected correctly and they knew where it was.

How did they know where it was?

At the end of the tenancy, did the tenants initiate the repayment by logging in to the deposit company's site, armed with the correct details - or did you initiate the (partial) repayment?

They contacted me asking about paying back their deposit and saying it was protected in this scheme under this policy number. Could this be proof they received the PI? How would they have known that?

I have had a strong rental portfolio for several years now and have never had a tenant take such a cynical approach to getting money out of me!
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« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2022, 08:53:53 PM »

A person with enough details about the tenancy can search for it on the company's website or call them and ask.

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/tenancy_deposits/check_your_tenancy_deposit_is_protected

Ah. Thanks KTC. I didn't know it was that simple.
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« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2022, 09:16:13 PM »

Could this be proof they received the PI? How would they have known that?

Nope, it doesn't matter if the tenant have or could obtain by themselves all the information required to be given by the landlord. The law requires that the landlord give that information to the tenant. This point is settled law as there's a Court of Appeal judgment on it. So you need to be able to evidence that you, or your agent, provided the information.
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« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2022, 09:44:07 AM »

Let us know how the negotiations direct with the Tenant go. Obviously you can use what you consider to be the "most relevant points" in any communication with them... but you've 100% got to be aware those same points (as stated) aren't all relevant for a Court. You can try and pull on the heart-strings but reading between the lines I am getting the impression these ex-Tenants are quite canny. They waited until the end of the tenancy even though you think they sat on the information they had for a while, and they've come up with the valid assertion that there's 2 tenancies you're at fault for here, and they've sent you a LBA to consider.

It seems like they've done their research... but, even then, I would hope most people would be open to good faith negotiation to avoid the alternative of a long, drawn-out Court case - even if the outcome is assured for them.

As long as you don't take the mickey, I suppose. Like - "here's 100, be happy and get gone..." - please remember that you appear to be on the hook for 2x and costs if this goes all the way. It doesn't seem that a penalty could be lower and I think we've all agreed there must be a penalty (unless you still think differently).
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« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2022, 03:45:02 PM »

one question... can I use my landlord legal insurance to hire a lawyer to defend this claim in court?
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« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2022, 05:33:50 PM »

This is not something we can answer,you will have to read through your particular policy to see if you are covered.I would be surprised if you are,these policies are rarely used by long-term landlords because they contain so many provisos.I doubt if they would cover something if your negligance was involved.
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« Reply #42 on: May 07, 2022, 09:44:27 AM »

one question... can I use my landlord legal insurance to hire a lawyer to defend this claim in court?

Defend as in - attempt to win the case or reduce the penalty to 1x per tenancy (there's an exceptionally good chance of that already, isn't there?)?

If you still think you have a chance of success at this stage I recommend you bite a big dose of reality. I don't think there's anyone here who's hinted you have a chance of 'winning' (based on the detail you've provided). Why do you seem to want your day in Court... to prove you don't 'get it' to another level? I mean - even in the last few entries you've been claiming some of your points are "the most relevant" and you've been soundly corrected in that they "aren't relevant"... so, very serious question - do you get it? Or have you got your head in the sand[castle]? We sense you feel hard-done-by. We aren't telling you you're wrong to feel that way... but we have been telling you that you did something wrong here and you should be looking to remove all emotion from this case and not pin your hopes on some fanciful precedent-setting win. We hear you when you say you think it's ridiculous. There are some very keen, experienced and knowledgeable folk advising you here (for free).

Have negotiations faltered? Where did they get to? What is your current relationship with the ex-Tenant like?
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« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2022, 07:05:25 AM »

one question... can I use my landlord legal insurance to hire a lawyer to defend this claim in court?

Defend as in - attempt to win the case or reduce the penalty to 1x per tenancy (there's an exceptionally good chance of that already, isn't there?)?

If you still think you have a chance of success at this stage I recommend you bite a big dose of reality. I don't think there's anyone here who's hinted you have a chance of 'winning' (based on the detail you've provided). Why do you seem to want your day in Court... to prove you don't 'get it' to another level? I mean - even in the last few entries you've been claiming some of your points are "the most relevant" and you've been soundly corrected in that they "aren't relevant"... so, very serious question - do you get it? Or have you got your head in the sand[castle]? We sense you feel hard-done-by. We aren't telling you you're wrong to feel that way... but we have been telling you that you did something wrong here and you should be looking to remove all emotion from this case and not pin your hopes on some fanciful precedent-setting win. We hear you when you say you think it's ridiculous. There are some very keen, experienced and knowledgeable folk advising you here (for free).

Have negotiations faltered? Where did they get to? What is your current relationship with the ex-Tenant like?

As of yet, I have not acknowledged the letter. I spoke to a very legally savvy friend of mine this weekend who said "the world is full of people threatening to sue in order to try get my money but in reality you need three things to take someone to court.... money, time and brains... not many people have all three!" They do not have a lawyer so I believe this is the case here.
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« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2022, 09:56:04 AM »

Fair enough... it is absolutely true there needs to be more than an opening letter for them to be able to dip into your wallet.

I don't believe representation is a necessary thing for them to bring a case, though. From what you've said they appear to be savvy themselves... it's now about whether they have the tenacity, I guess. I mean you said you believe they knew about your non-compliance for a long time, but didn't let on, they then waited until they left your property before starting the claim process... let's see if they've read-up on the steps, or have been on a forum themselves...

You should have a back-up plan in case they begin to escalate... if you get a strong smell that they're going to chuck it over the wall to a No Win No Fee company... be careful about fees they'll attempt to add. The LBA you received is obviously their first step... they may well be following Shelter's step-by-step guidance (and template letters) for Tenants, which says - "Before you start a court claim, you must send a formal 'letter before action' to your landlord."... or something similar from citizensadvice.org.uk.
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« Reply #45 on: May 11, 2022, 10:29:55 AM »

the aggrieved tenants now say they will be issuing a 'Part 36' letter... can anyone advise?
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« Reply #46 on: May 11, 2022, 10:39:32 AM »

Yeah if you think your former tenants will just huff and puff and then go away when they don't receive a response, good luck hoping here but I would expect for you to receive a court claim through the post soon.

Part 36 offer to settle. If/when they go to court, they win, and the award against you is at least as high as their offer to settle, you are going to be liable for extra legal cost as penalty for not accepting the offer to settle.
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« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2022, 11:01:56 AM »

the aggrieved tenants now say they will be issuing a 'Part 36' letter... can anyone advise?

It possibly implies - as your very legally savvy friend said - these ex-Tenants might have money, time and brains... tho' I don't agree money is actually needed... I'd say time, brains and tenacity. And even if they have to part with a bit of money to continue the ball rolling... they're probably feeling quite positive that they'll make it back, and a lot more, when you reach Court... which appears to be your final destination as things stand.

I'd be careful with them. I realise I've said it before, but I don't think putting your head in the sand (with someone who, based on your own description, seems quite aware of what is going on here and what the process they have to follow is) is the best approach. However, I accept you have had advice to wait-and-see and it's hard to go against that advice (of a friend). Could cost you though.

Everything the ex-Tenant is doing now is costing them nothing but time and effort... there's only a small fee to get you in Court I believe. They don't need to hire a firm to represent them, or anything like that. It's not that stage when you start to think they're serious.
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« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2022, 09:29:25 AM »

You started out in a bullish mindset,now I can read the energy draining from you as indecision and doubt set in.You are probably losing sleep over this. Failing to respond to the claim is not going to impress the court if it comes to that,and has probably just made the claimants more determined.
I am not sure you should be listening to that friend of yours.He seems to be saying that he personally has had people trying to sue him for money more than once.If that is the case he may be one of those Teflon types who go through life ducking and diving.You don't sound like that.I think you should either swallow your pride and make an offer,or -equally valid- tell them to ****off,see them in court with all your evidence and hope for the best. Just doing nothing is not an adult way of dealing with this.Good luck.
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« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2022, 12:42:34 PM »

The chances of the tenant going to court are quite small - it's a complicated claim to make and administer.

Most no win no fee companies will decline to take any action on a claim for not issuing PI only, because the likely return is so low, the penalty is likely to be 1 times the deposit for each failure to follow the regulation.

But being unhappy about the regulation and the penalty is a waste of time - the legislation is designed to be policed by the tenant incentivised by the money that they can claim for the landlord, it's not an accidental side effect, it's how it was designed to work.
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« Reply #50 on: May 15, 2022, 05:46:29 PM »

The chances of the tenant going to court are quite small - it's a complicated claim to make and administer.

Most no win no fee companies will decline to take any action on a claim for not issuing PI only, because the likely return is so low, the penalty is likely to be 1 times the deposit for each failure to follow the regulation.

But being unhappy about the regulation and the penalty is a waste of time - the legislation is designed to be policed by the tenant incentivised by the money that they can claim for the landlord, it's not an accidental side effect, it's how it was designed to work.

This is the most sensible suggestion so far methinks. They have now sent two letters and appear to have taken no steps towards the costly and time consuming procedure of going to court. If I receive a court document I can then return to their 'offer' but I am not going to pay up on this speculative threat.
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« Reply #51 on: May 15, 2022, 11:11:46 PM »

But aren't those kind of defined as being the steps?

They sent you a LBA. They're now moving to a Part 36. How on Earth do you ascertain they have taken no steps? Why is their offer placed inside inverted commas... as though it's not really worthy of being called an offer? It's not a speculative threat in any shape or form. It may well turn out that it fizzles out if you ignore it long enough... no-one can say for certain, but there's nothing speculative or threatening about you being on the hook - if they do follow-through on everything they need to, then you will either incur a penalty or be forced to negotiate in good faith prior to that.

I would suggest you familiarise yourself with the steps you are potentially going to be reacting to... especially this Part 36 and the accepting, or not.
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« Reply #52 on: May 18, 2022, 10:33:50 AM »

But aren't those kind of defined as being the steps?

They sent you a LBA. They're now moving to a Part 36. How on Earth do you ascertain they have taken no steps? Why is their offer placed inside inverted commas... as though it's not really worthy of being called an offer? It's not a speculative threat in any shape or form. It may well turn out that it fizzles out if you ignore it long enough... no-one can say for certain, but there's nothing speculative or threatening about you being on the hook - if they do follow-through on everything they need to, then you will either incur a penalty or be forced to negotiate in good faith prior to that.

I would suggest you familiarise yourself with the steps you are potentially going to be reacting to... especially this Part 36 and the accepting, or not.

I think the solution is quite simple... if I recieve court papers, I can return to their offer and consider it.
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