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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My aged relative rents a garage and a piece of garden from

Resolved Question:

My aged relative rents a garage and a piece of garden from the local estate and have done for many years. The rent is paid annually one in October and one in April. In 2011 two cheques were written and sent to the estate as usual. no Invoice was received from the estate. In 2012 two cheques were written and sent to the estate, again without an invoice from the estate. In 2013 two cheques were written and sent as usual. At no time did the estate contact my relative of any problem and my relative who is 80 years old and sole carer for his wife does not closely look at his bank statements.
In 2014 it came to light that 5 of the above cheques have not been presented to the bank and the estate are accusing my relative of not paying the rents and are demanding full payment for all arrears.
I have wrote to the estate to ask what has happened to the cheques and why were they not presented to the bank. The estate are refusing to answer this query and are saying it is all my relatives fault for not checking his bank statements, age is not an excuse apparently.
On information received by my relative it is clear that there has been a problem at the estate and garage rent invoices for 2011, 2012 and 2013 were not raised and an invoice for 3 years was raised in November 2013.
My relative is 80 on a pension and has paid already for the rents for 2014, which ere presented to the bank.
The estate are not prepared to accept responsibility for this problem and are demanding payment in full for the arrears.
What is my relatives legal position given
1. That he sent cheques off in good faith, which were not presented to the bank by the estate. He was not informed that there was a problem until 2014, plus invoices were not being raised properly during this time period.
2. They will not explain what happened to the cheques. My concern is that cheques are missing with his bank details and signature on.
3. Can they ask for payment in full on back rents given that the problem was at their end and my relative is not the only one. I have found out that there are a few people whose payments have not been presented to the bank during this period.
I would appreciate your advice as this problem is making my relative ill and the estate are not willing to compromise at all.
Thank you
L Hodgson
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : Does he accept that the sums are owing as they have not actually been paid, although you thought they had please?
Customer:

I have explained to him they have not gone out of his account, but is worried that something fraudulent has happened with the cheques and obviously does not have sufficient funds to cover back rents.

Customer:

We have never said we would not pay any outstanding rents but require clarification first on what happened to the cheques that were not presented and for them to admit an error at their end instead of blaming my relative for not checking his bank statements.

Alex Watts :

Its bad news I am afraid.

Alex Watts :

The debt is owing and indeed they do have 6 years to claim it under the Limitation Act 1980

Alex Watts :

I can certainly understand your concern regarding cheques and might I suggest in future either a standing order is set up or online banking. This way you know payments are directly credited.

Alex Watts :

Further if this is not possible I would suggest sending the payment recorded delviery.

Alex Watts :

However as it stands there is a debt owing going back to 2011.

Alex Watts :

Whilst I do not think they have a right to demand all the payment in one go I think there is an argument to allow payment to clear the balance over some months.

Alex Watts :

They have failed to send any invoice and therefore can not expect full payment within a few days.

Alex Watts :

It is reasonable given their delay in sending invoice and chasing payment to allow it to be spread out

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Not very helpful to me as we know the money is owed but we want clarification on what happened to the cheques? Can we demand that they confirm to us that the cheques have been securely disposed of?We feel that financial information has not been secure in the department and want some explanation. As I have said my relative is 80years old and does not check his bank statements so would not be aware if any money had gone missing through other means. The estate are not willing to provide this assurance.

Alex Watts :

If a cheque is over 6 months old it will not be cashed in any event.

Alex Watts :

But yes you can demand assurances as for the cheques and if they do not provide the assurance then you can sue for loss and damage. However any claim for loss and damage is likely to be less than £10,000 in compensation

Customer:

I am an accountant and am aware the cheques cannot be cashed, but financial information can be used fraudulently in other ways which is why we are now required to securely shred information with clients financial details on. My relative is worried about fraud he is a retired policeman so is aware of what can happen so asking them to explain what happened to the cheques and provide assurances is not unreasonable. Are you saying that if I demand assurances and they do not comply they could be held liable for any fraudulent activity on the account?

Alex Watts :

Indeed. This could be a breach of the Data Protection Act which is why he could sue for loss and damage especially if he has suffered stress and a psychiatric illness because the cheques have been lost.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Thank you very much for your assistance that has helped me and I will be able to respond to the estate.

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