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Need help! Do we agree to this settlement or take tenant to next court hearing?

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Author Topic: Need help! Do we agree to this settlement or take tenant to next court hearing?  (Read 278 times)
Newbie
Posts: 23

I like property

« on: November 14, 2019, 03:46:29 PM »

I am joint landlord with my husband dealing with an anti-social tenant who we tried to evict with section 8 in May through Legal For Landlords.  He refused to leave so we went forward with a court hearing that took place 3rd Sept. But because his solicitors were not ready, my advocate and I had to adjourn! He then came forward with a defense statement trying to sue us for damages to his possessions and property. I had phoned the police when we discovered one of the doors smashed open! He also had police involved when he assaulted another tenant and she reported it on 26th Jan. We have a police incident number and private messages that night on Facebook between me and herself proving this incident took place! Not long after though she left and wanted nothing more to do with it. She wouldn't even let us access the report for fear of being dragged into court!

We provided our defense statement through our local solicitor. Also have two people willing to stand up in court-  another female tenant who has witnessed this man's behaviour, plus my husband's brother who saw the mess the property was in before they renovated the place and turned it into a HMO (which this tenant agreed to verbally - Although he does also mention this in his statement.)  NB: In 2003 my mother was the landlord. When she passed in 2015 my husband and I took over, and later transformed the place into a HMO (but didn't require a licence as we were under the 5 people limit.)

This tenant gets Legal Aid and his solicitors (Derby Law Centre) have now come forward saying they will offer a settlement. My solicitor told them we don't have much money (which is true as it's been spent on trying to evict him and take him to court.) I am disabled and only on PIP allowance - my husband works when he can and is not earning a full wage. The only other money is from a commercial tenant who isn't keeping up with regular payments and owes us £700 - this is barely covering our monthly bills. Then the tenant's rent is £320 (£104 0f which goes on Council Tax as it's classed as HMO, which we have been paying for about 2 years now!) HIS solicitors are asking us to pay their fees so far of £4.700 and £4000 compensation for HIM! My solicitor told them we would consider a settlement after they came forward and offered this solution, before we knew what price they would be asking for. This seems so unfair to me and I need advice. IF we refuse and go ahead with the court hearing we are confident we'll win, but we have been told we will receive no compensation because he is getting Legal Aid.

Firstly do we HAVE to cover the costs of his Legal Aid so far? I thought that only applied if you lose? Secondly we have replied to our solicitor saying we will suggest £800 - £1000 to cover deposit and one months rent for a new place. Also we would like £550 taken aside to cover costs of any damages, refurbishments and clearing up general mess! Otherwise we'll go ahead with next court hearing.

All we want is to sell our property. But we can't with him in as a seller wants an up to date tenancy agreement, which he has refused to sign since we transformed the place to HMO standards. We only have my mother's old one (which he's also clearly breached! His solicitor admitted that to the judge at the first hearing! This tenant also claimed in two letters (which I have) that he is not AST, yet in his defense statement he says he is AST! He also said the police were involved, then further down his statement he says they were not?

So, do we agree to a settlement or continue with court hearing in Jan? His defense statement is all hearsay whereas I have written proof and photos.
Full Member
Posts: 190

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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2019, 06:53:10 PM »

No, you don't have to offer him anything.  You can go to Court. 

Going to Court is not usually very satisfying, and even if you do get a judgment against the tenant it would probably not be paid, and even if you get a possession order he might well decide not to move out.  This leaves you trying to evict him via Court bailiffs which is slow and costs even more money.

I recommend offering him a much smaller sum to move out.  Be clear that you will not in any circumstances pay his legal costs.
Newbie
Posts: 36

People can be funny.. so keep laughing.

« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2019, 10:11:19 PM »

I'm in a similar situation, albeit a simplified version of your own... I have a tenant who has driven me to the verge of madness and cost me thousands to date in unpaid rent, damage and legal costs... but please don't feel alone, there's loads of us in the same coracle, all equally deranged by the behaviour of some, the confusion of the inadequate laws, the costs involved and the feeling of confusion as to why people can get away with this bullshit..

But remove the lawyers and you'll remove a lot of the costs and most of the time spent worrying about it all.. quite a saving.

Offer the tenant the "bung" to go away.. it'll feel wrong, you'll be angry that you had to do this, you'll probably for a new opinion of the PRS … but you'll be free of this particular drama.. and how much is that worth ..?

Good luck, and don't feel alone.. it happens and it's bad, but things are never as bad as they seem..

I hope !.


Hero Member
Posts: 737

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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2019, 11:20:41 AM »

Hippogriff.Yes Cabal seems appropriate. Back in my Dad's day it was freemasons.Round here,the golf club and Rotary seem to oil the wheels of commerce.
Hero Member
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2019, 11:22:30 AM »

Sorry,my comment above was meant for another post about solicitors and insurers.
Hero Member
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2019, 11:30:18 AM »

There is no right or wrong answer.Any advice will be subjective.You must do what you feel is right for you, financially and emotionally.Personally,I would rather lie dead in a ditch (move over Boris) than meet any of the demands of this tenant and his public-spirited lawyer.In fact,as I am currently reading a book about military tactics in warfare,I would slap a pre-emptive small claims on him.I am sure you can come up with something.Seriously,talk this over some more together,decide how much energy you can expend.I really feel for you.Good Luck.     
Accidental Landlord
Jr. Member
Posts: 60

Just trying my best

« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2019, 11:56:22 AM »

This is an example of what can make life pure hell for a Landlord.
From personal experience, ending up in Court can be very unsatisfying and more costly BECAUSE THE PRESIDING JUDGE CAN USE HIS/HER DISCRETION TO BASICALLY IGNORE ALL YOUR EVIDENCE, NO MATTER HOW CONCRETE AND WATER TIGHT  - IN FAVOUR OF THE TENANT - ie side with the Tenant who is always the long suffering hard done party after all ... Plus even if you do 'win' if he has no or low income, you'll not be paid and you'll have added costs of your legal counsel having gone to court and your own time and efforts.

So in my humble opinion, do everything humanly possible to settle out of court asap - this does not mean throwing money at this person but really working hard between yourselves and your solicitor to find an amount/ways to remove him from your property. Hope cash in hand now will be more attractive than later.
Wishing you the best of luck for a speedy conclusion.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 12:06:51 PM by eps501 »
Newbie
Posts: 23

I like property

« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2019, 02:32:33 PM »

There is no right or wrong answer.Any advice will be subjective.You must do what you feel is right for you, financially and emotionally.Personally,I would rather lie dead in a ditch (move over Boris) than meet any of the demands of this tenant and his public-spirited lawyer.In fact,as I am currently reading a book about military tactics in warfare,I would slap a pre-emptive small claims on him.I am sure you can come up with something.Seriously,talk this over some more together,decide how much energy you can expend.I really feel for you.Good Luck.   

Thank you for your advice. Small claims is not an option since he is paying his rent so that is not the issue.
Newbie
Posts: 23

I like property

« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2019, 02:36:38 PM »

I appreciate everyone's opinions and thank you. Looks like the majority are saying don't go to court hearing in Jan. But yes, I will work on a settlement offer and also get a consent order drawn up (suggestion from Legal For Landlords we were previously working with.) My hope is if we pay his greedy solicitors their money, then they will not care so much what their client gets. So we can negotiate! So basically the law in the UK is crooked and unfair! I just want this over with as it's not doing my health any good either. I recently had a cancer scare (but I am in the clear, thank god!)
Hero Member
Posts: 737

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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2019, 02:59:33 PM »

Hope it goes well for you.Nothing is worth sacrificing your health for.All the best.
Newbie
Posts: 23

I like property

« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2019, 04:56:42 PM »

I'm in a similar situation, albeit a simplified version of your own... I have a tenant who has driven me to the verge of madness and cost me thousands to date in unpaid rent, damage and legal costs... but please don't feel alone, there's loads of us in the same coracle, all equally deranged by the behaviour of some, the confusion of the inadequate laws, the costs involved and the feeling of confusion as to why people can get away with this bullshit..

But remove the lawyers and you'll remove a lot of the costs and most of the time spent worrying about it all.. quite a saving.

Offer the tenant the "bung" to go away.. it'll feel wrong, you'll be angry that you had to do this, you'll probably for a new opinion of the PRS … but you'll be free of this particular drama.. and how much is that worth ..?

Good luck, and don't feel alone.. it happens and it's bad, but things are never as bad as they seem..

I hope !.

Sorry to hear you are in a similar situation and I completely sympathise with you!  When you say offer this tenant 'the bung' do you mean the £4000? Absolutely no way are we agreeing to that! My hope is if we pay his greedy solicitors their £4,700 and offer him less of a deal, they might go along with that. I mean after all, all they want is THEIR money! My solicitor suggested paying this piece of slime between £1.500 - £2.500?? Well we've suggested paying his deposit and rent (which would be roughly £1000) and my husband wants to then take back £550 for damage repair etc.
Full Member
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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2019, 07:29:21 PM »

You've made this offer via solicitors, yes?
Hero Member
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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2019, 07:41:39 PM »

Don't count on the tenant co-operating,like the solicitors, all he is interested in is his money.Nothing you have said about him suggests he can be trusted to behave rationally. 
Newbie
Posts: 23

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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2019, 08:32:42 PM »

You've made this offer via solicitors, yes?

My solicitor was waiting to hear what we were deciding as a settlement agreement. We are not approaching the tenant at all. Only my solicitor suggested instead of offering the £4000 (which is what Derby Law Centre want for their so-called client, along with £4.700 for the legal aid costs), we offer between £1500 - £2500 for the tenant. He also said the costs the Legal Aid solicitors want is a given! That's way too steep IMO! So we've offered less. Waiting to see what reply we get now.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 08:39:24 PM by Pevans »
Newbie
Posts: 23

I like property

« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2019, 08:34:30 PM »

Don't count on the tenant co-operating,like the solicitors, all he is interested in is his money.Nothing you have said about him suggests he can be trusted to behave rationally.

This is through our solicitors, not the tenant. I would not go near him!
Full Member
Posts: 190

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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2019, 10:46:26 PM »

We are not approaching the tenant at all.

Splendid.
Newbie
Posts: 23

I like property

« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2019, 01:56:35 PM »

No, you don't have to offer him anything.  You can go to Court. 

Going to Court is not usually very satisfying, and even if you do get a judgment against the tenant it would probably not be paid, and even if you get a possession order he might well decide not to move out.  This leaves you trying to evict him via Court bailiffs which is slow and costs even more money.

I recommend offering him a much smaller sum to move out.  Be clear that you will not in any circumstances pay his legal costs.

I had advice from another board saying that because we transformed our place into bedsits without this tenants written permission then that is why his solicitors are claiming compensation? However he agreed to this and even has it stated on his defense and counterclaim statement to the court (which I have a copy of.) He claims it made it more habitable etc! Before this he was the only person living in the building while my mother was landlord and had access to the whole place. However it was in a disgusting mess which cost us a fortune to renovate (and we have all the receipts documented as proof!) So we decided to alter to a HMO (in rules only as we were under 5 people, so did not need to register with Council) so we could take on more tenants to help cover costs. The fact we had another tenant also cost us over a grand in rent before he left his place in a disgusting mess, prevented us from making the money back!  Therefore WHY do we owe compensation for his greedy solicitors? You said refuse to pay? Would you still advise this after I have explained the situation more? I await your reply eagerly as seriously I am at the end of my rope!
Full Member
Posts: 190

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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2019, 03:19:46 PM »

Oh, I'm sure his solicitors would give hundreds of excellent reasons why you ought to pay their costs and a handsome lump sum to their client.  That's their job.

I personally would try to avoid a trip to Court by making a reasonable offer to settle.  Tell them that their client's legal costs are his problem, because he's not going to pay yours is he?
Newbie
Posts: 23

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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2019, 04:00:21 PM »

Oh, I'm sure his solicitors would give hundreds of excellent reasons why you ought to pay their costs and a handsome lump sum to their client.  That's their job.

I personally would try to avoid a trip to Court by making a reasonable offer to settle.  Tell them that their client's legal costs are his problem, because he's not going to pay yours is he?

Thank you I will email my solicitor and add this to what I have already sent him. He was waiting to hear what compensation we were going to suggest and also telling us paying his legal aid fees so far was a given, but gave me no reason why?
Full Member
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2019, 02:58:44 AM »

If there's a good reason why you should pay their legal costs, then your solicitor should tell you what it is.
Newbie
Posts: 23

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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2019, 08:02:25 PM »

If there's a good reason why you should pay their legal costs, then your solicitor should tell you what it is.

Found this online.......

Once you commence legal action, there’s no turning back. A landlord must see the process through to its conclusion or pay the other side’s legal costs to back out. If your tenant decides to defend the case or brings a counter claim against you, then you will be in for some serious costs, especially if your tenant has legal aid and legal assistance.

He did bring a counter claim against us, even if it is a complete joke with nothing to back him up!

The hearing HE postponed (due to not being ready) is now set for Jan7th.

Also, it was HIS solicitors that said he would be willing to leave IF we settle. Then they started demanding costs!

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