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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69771
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Here are the key points - dispute between me and my former

Customer Question

Here are the key points - dispute between me and my former landlord (LL)
- LL did not protect deposit (£750). Confirmed by him. Tenancy was over on 31 Oct 2015.
- Took him 3 weeks after I left to say he was going to charge me for a cracked (not smashed/broken) window. I don't know how it happened. There's a desk and book case in front of the window. It's on the 3rd floor.
- Wrote to LL saying that he didn't protect deposit and I didn't believe I should pay all of repair for window. Asked him to repay my deposit in full to avoid further action.
- LL ignored this and spent over £500 on repair, transferring difference to my account.
- Emailed to LL asking for my deposit back. Ignored. Emailed a more formal letter, citing the laws etc. Ignored.
- Sent the formal letter in the post. Given LL until 8th Jan to respond.
- Response from LL today, saying I owe him 2 weeks rent (this may be true).
I've always paid rent on time. Most of my tenancy in 6 month chunks. The 2 weeks may have been because tenancy started on 15th Oct 2012 and ended on 1st Nov 2015.
If I accept that I owe rent, do I invalidate my claim to get my deposit back, plus up to 3 times in compensation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
No, they are separate issues. He has a claim for rent. You would have a claim arising from the failure to protect the deposit.
However, it would be worth negotiating with him because you will not get any more than the sum of the deposit minus any arrears and damage. The maximum amount is three times the sum which is almost never awarded as courts do not like to enrich a person.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What about the fact that his property is better off now at my expense because of the window?Apportionment should have been applied - but I have been charged 100% of the cost. And it was a crack in the window, not a broken one. The flat's value wouldn't have been effected nor would the ability to rent it out.Surely this, along with the fact that my right to arbitration was denied because he didnt fulfil his legal obligations towards me.Another point - in the contract it states £500pcm - I paid this in 6 month chunks for 2 years (this was not in the contract only the £500pcm) - then after it was 3 months chunks, then monthly - he put the rent up in accordance to these shifts. So I have paid more than the contract stipulates. He didnt put the raises of rent in writing either. Do I have a claim to this at all?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
If you have cracked a window then you are liable to replace it.
If you have been paying £500 pcm then however it was paid matters not.
The rent can be increased at the beginning of new ASTs but not otherwise.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank you.There was only one AST- rent at £500pcm.Since I paid more than that, where does that leave me?Thank you
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
When did the AST end?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think technically, it was the 15th October 2015 but my handover was on 1st November 2015.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
If it is one continuous AST then there shouldn't have been an increase in rent at all.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok - thank you. Can you please clarify what this means? Can I claim back what I have over paid? Is what he has done illegal?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
It depends on the circumstances and his explanation and what the contract actually says.
If you can give me more information i might be able to offer more.
I'm surprised you didn't refuse to pay if the contract was contrary to what was being asked?
I'm happy to continue with this but please rate my answer.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69771
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The wording in the contract is simple.That it was £500pcm. No caveats etc.I paid in 6 month chunks. When I needed to pay in 3 month chunks he added 5% per month and then when I paid as per the terms of the contract he added 10%.I didn't refuse because I didn't want to cause problems and I thought it was in his rights to do so. So I bit my tongue.I did rate your answer, you've been excellent thank you.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
He can't levy increases on that basis then.
If he has then that would be reclaimable.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much. You've been incredibly helpful.Not sure if I'm allowed to ask this on this platform, but am I able to book your services if this does go to court?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
We aren't allowed to accept instructions directly under the rules of this site.I can offer guidance though.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's fine. I don't want to get anyone into trouble!My plan for now is to double check that I do owe for the rent arrears. If I do, then I will settle that, so that matter is closed. In the meantime, if he doesn't make me an acceptable offer re: deposit protection and over charging me for rent and the cost of the window, I'll pursue the matter formally in court.What do you think to this?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
That is what I would suggest.
Try to negotiate. If that fails, go to court.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks for your help.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem.
All the best.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Am I allowed to ask for clarification on one more thing? Or do I need to pay again?If so, I'll ask now to save time:My former landlord has claimed I owe £301 in rent arrears -saying it's the pro rata rate for the last 2 weeks.I've asked him for the calculation as to how he got to the figure - so I can validate the amount. He says if I don't pay in 7 days then he'll instruct solicitors to recover the amount.If he doesn't respond with the calculation, where does that leave me?It's an amount that I can't substantiate. If it turns out I do owe, I have no problem in settling that figure - I've always been a god rent payer. But I don't want to pay what to me is a random amount.Thank you.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Well, he may do that. It doesn't make much difference really because if he does then he will have to prove it in court so you will see the calculation and all it would lead to is your counter claim so it would be stupid of him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank you- again, very helpful.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem.
All the best.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've just realised I've made an error. In the small print of the contract, it says that rent is payable in 6 monthly instalments.The AST commenced from 15 oct 2012 until October 14 2013. I was never issued another AST.I paid like this for approx two thirds of the tenancy, but when cash flow didn't allow (on 5 occasions) this is when he added 5% or 10%.By not paying in 6 monthly instalments, I'm guessing I have breached the contract. Where does that leave me in this respect, please?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, you have but not in a way that is actionable really.
The major issue though is that there can be increases as it is a periodic tenancy agreement now that the AST has ended.
But he still has to be you proper notice.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank you.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem.

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