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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I was recently made redundant from a company as it went into

Customer Question

I was recently made redundant from a company as it went into administration.
I own a painting which was hanging at the company’s premises. When the company went into administration in the summer I was able to remove several personal items but was unable to take the painting due to its size.
Shortly after the company going into administration the landlord, unlawfully, took possession of the building and changed the locks. There followed a period of wrangling between the administrators and landlord during which access to the building was denied. Eventually, an agreement was reached whereby access was allowed only to discover that much of the company's assets had been removed by the landlord. My painting, however, remained. When I was later in a position to remove the painting I contacted the administrators but was told that the keys had been returned to the landlord. Upon contacting the landlord I was told that he had subsequently cleared the premises and wasn't sure if the painting was still there. He said he would be visiting the premises the following day and would let me know if it was there. I asked him to let me know when he would be on site and I offered to meet him there. He didn’t get back to me.
When I later contacted him he said that he’d taken the painting and it was at his ‘lock up’. He said that as he’d had to pay for someone to clear the premises he wanted me to pay him form the painting.
I re-iterated that the painting did not belong to the company and that he had no right to it.
He has since re-iterated that he wants me to pay £400 or he will sell it on.
Are you able to advise me?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

On what basis is he able to claim the £400? How did he work it out please?

JACUSTOMER-i887qyl9- :

No basis. He just said:
"I have your painting at my lock up. I have been offered 400 hundred for it but I am happy to give you first refusal."

Alex Watts :

What you need to do is write and demand release of the painting or say you will go to Court. Make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.

Alex Watts :

If he refuses then you can issue proceedings and ask the Court for an order that he 'delivers up' the painting.

JACUSTOMER-i887qyl9- :

He then also said:
"I had to spend £3,500 removing all the rubbish that was left there last week...You owed over £30,000 pounds to us."

The "you" here is the company I worked for and not me!

Alex Watts :

You would need to complete form N208 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n208-eng.pdf and submit it to Court.

Alex Watts :

The Court will then issue the claim and send a copy to the Defendant. He would have a limited time to defend it, if not he would be debarred from participating.

Alex Watts :

The matter would then be listed and a Judge would decide whether or not to make the order to deliver up.

Alex Watts :

If the Judge does and he refuses then the Judge could find him in contempt of Court for ignoring a Court order which could be fined or sent to prison.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you to rate my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.

Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

JACUSTOMER-i887qyl9- :

Thanks for your help so far.
Are you able to give me an idea of the likely costs involved in pursuing this matter through the Court as outlined above?
Also, what prospect would I have (if any) of retrieving the costs from the defendant?

Alex Watts :

£175 issue fee.

Alex Watts :

The costs are listed here: http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/fees

JACUSTOMER-i887qyl9- :

Is this fee something that be claimed from the defendant?
Also, he claims that as I didn't have a landlords waiver that allowed me to keep the painting on the premises and made clear that it could not be seized or warranted upon, he has no liability.
Can you advise on this point?

Alex Watts : If the painting belongs to you the landlord can only hold it on bailment which means held on your behalf. He can not charge for the return. The £175 fee is added to the claim and you can seek that cost back when it goes to court.

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