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propertylawyer
propertylawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 270
Experience:  Property solicitor with expertise in commercial and residential property transactions.
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My landlord protected my deposit incorrectly and did not

Customer Question

My landlord protected my deposit incorrectly and did not issue all the PI. I believe this means I can bring a claim against him for non protection, but he has ignored my letter before action. However, I am struggling with which form to use - N208 or N1. Some landlord websites seem to suggest it must be N208/Part 8 (and CPR 56.1 certainly seems to suggest they are correct) and that is a more costly route. I am happy to pay solicitor in the knowledge that it is likely it will be claimed back. Because of this I went to see a solicitor and have been quoted £750+VAT for him to act on the case. Whilst this is fine IF I can recover the costs, the solicitor seems to think this will be dealt with as a small claims case eventually and so I will only be able to claim a fraction of that back. Obviously, as its a fixed fee, if it is referred to the small claims track I would already be committed to paying it.So whats the best option and why? Should I start with N208 and if it gets 'downgraded' represent my self and it it doesnt go back and ask the solicitor to represent me? Should I start with N1 and hope LL doesn't point out that its the wrong form? How hard is it to complete N208 as a LiP?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 11 months ago.

Hi Darren

Thanks for your question.

I will try to help you.

Are you using to online service moneyclaimonline.com?

Did your solicitor state how he would proceed?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for the response. I want to use whichever is appropriate. In the user guide for moneyclaimonline it specifically states claims related to tenancy deposit schemes should not be made using this service (Page 4, under the section "Is my claim suitable for MCOL?"). My solicitor did not state how he would proceed but did state that "its a court issue" and since the total value of the claim is less than £5000 he seemed to suggest claiming back costs would not be an option.
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 11 months ago.

Hi Darren

Apologies, I have been in meetings.

I would say the correct form is n208.

Practice direction 56 states that landlord and tenant claims have to be dealt with under part 8 and for n208 is therefore the correct form.

Do note that the matter will start in the multi track. A multi track claim is more complex and you may need your solicitor's assistance. The court may allocate to the small claims track if you are claiming less than £10k but the court will decide how to deal with your case but there is no guarantee it will be down graded.

There is a court fee to pay, it goes up in bands depending on the value of your claim. You add this amount to what you are claiming.

If you use a solicitor you are primarily responsible for payment of the solicitor's fees but you may be able to recover some of the costs from the landlord. Recovery of costs is governed by the court. And your solicitor is probably correct in stating that the only a fraction will be recoverable.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions or queries.

Kind regards

Paul

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thats fine, I understand. Thank you for the response again.If the claim is not downgraded, and stays on the multi track, are my solicitors costs then recoverable from the landlord?If I completed form N208 myself and it is not downgraded would a solicitor then be able to assist me at that stage? I am wondering whether this is an option I could pursue.If I submitted on N1 and the LL defended asking for it to be moved to the multi track, do my costs then become recoverable?It feels a little unjust, as I need to complete the form N208 (which is by all accounts complex) and so need assistance of a solicitor but then it may be allocated to the small claims and I would not be able to recover the costs of said solicitor. It encourages landlords to play a game of brinkmanship in the knowledge that most tenants wont have the resources to pay the upfront costs. Luckily I can afford them, but even then there seems little point if the vast majority of the penalty payable simply goes to my solicitor.
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 11 months ago.

Hi

The correct form is n208. If you file n1 the court will reject it.

You can always start proceedings and bring in a solicitor if needs be but the same rules apply on costs. Therefore may not be recoverable.

I do sympathise with your view. Taking into account the likely costs is one of the considerations you need to bear in mind when considering legal action. If you lose or the court makes an unfavourable award on costs payment of all or part of the fees is your liability. The court should notice any tactics adopted by the landlord with an intention to have an adverse effect on your fees. Ultimately you are in the courts hands on that issue.

propertylawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 270
Experience: Property solicitor with expertise in commercial and residential property transactions.
propertylawyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. Last two questions then Im done, I promise!1. In my mind, if the claim is a multi track claim I will be able to recover costs of ~£1.5k whereas in a small claim I would only be able to recover £90. It seems from what you are saying that it is not that cut and dry? That even a multi track claim may not award costs?2. How will I know whether the claim is allocated to small claims or multi track? Am I explicitly told or is there some subtle cue that I need to watch out for?Thank you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi, could you just answer the last two questions please?
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 11 months ago.

Hi

Apologies, not been online until now.

1. It is difficult to say what you can recover by way of costs. Many variables, conduct of parties, offers to settle etc. difficult to say at outset what you are likely to recover.

2. The court will allocate and and make you aware.

Good luck

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