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Hello, welcome to the website. My name isXXXXX can assist you with this.
Can you tell me a little more about the issue and the question please?
This is a previous discussionCustomer:
Hi again Joshua, I was just wondering if you could give me any advice on a particularly awkward situation.
My brother was a toolmaker and became very ill. He left expensive machinery at his old business workplace (where he was renting a building)The man who owned the building told him that the machines were safe and that he would look after them until my brother was better. There were 2 machines worth £20,000. Since my brother has passed away and we have looked into selling these machines to help pay off his mortgage for his children. the man who owned the building says that he has sold them for £500 because they were in the way.
Does he have a right to sell someone else's belongings? There was no written agreement as far as we know
may I ask if your brother had a lease in respect of the premises or whether he was occupying the same under a more informal agreement such as a licence or a verbal arrangement? Did he pay any form of rent to The landlord?
He paid rent to the landlord for the premises whilst he was running his own business from this premises. When my brother finished, he paid up-to-date any monies owing. The landlord has a few premises and lock ups on the same estate and allowed my brother store two huge machines in one of his lock ups for nothing, just as a friend he was offering a solution as my brother was ill and was hoping to go back eventually.
okay I've read that.
thank you. did the landlord serving you notice upon your brother advising that he intended to dispose of the machines if they were not collected?
No, we had no indication whatsoever from the landlord that these machines were going to be sold. No contact at all
We have contacted the police but they have not been very helpful. We don't know whether they were sold before or after he died. The landlord knows very well how much these machines are worth and there is no way he would have sold them for £500
thanks. I will be with you in just a moment with your permission
Yes no problem
my apologies for the delay. The position is covered by the torts ( interference with goods) act. the act requires the landlord to serve a notice upon your brother or failing which is personal representatives advising that the machines must be collected within no less than 28 days failing which he reserves the right to sell or dispose of the machines. If the landlord did not serve such a notice, then he is liable to your brother's estate for the replacement value of the same
The police has advised we go to small court proceedings and they do not wish to look into it. Do you think it is worth doing so?
accordingly, your brother's personal representatives will wish to consider writing to the landlord advising that as he has disposed of the machines contrary to the above legislation, the estate requests the landlord to disclose the identity of the buyer in order that the machines can be recovered as the buyer will not have good title to machines because the landlord had no authority to sell the same. in the event the landlord will not disclose the information, the estate will wish to reserve its right to look to the landlord for the replacement value of the machines.
if the landlord does disclose the identity of the buyer, the estate can write to the buyer and request the return of the machines is the landlord had no title to them failing which, or if the landlord will not disclose the information, the estate can issue a claim against the landlord and if possible, the buyer as well as of joint defendant for the return of the machines or the replacement value of the same
the simplest way to issue proceedings is using the courts online issuing service, www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
Perfect!! Thanks for now. Great advice
Okay I've read this too. What is your question please?
I just want to know will the police help in these matters because they don't seem to want to in our case or is it just a civil court matter which they just do not get involved in?? Plus is the civil court only used for claims under £10,000?
Ah, yes, the police are not often helpful in this type of thing I'm afraid. Unless you put on a balaclava and carry a gun it's difficult to get them very interested I'm afraid.
Technically, this is a civil matter, under the law of conversion.
Yes, ok so what would you advise as the best way to proceed? Should we go with the online courts issuing service or pay a solicitor privately. Is there any difference in the procedure? Could this be dealt with within my brothers probate?
What's the value of the claim?
It will be around £30,000
Okay, then I would urge you to get a solicitor to help you with this, as it's part of the "proper" court system and you would be at risk of being ordered to pay costs, which could be significant, if you lost.
It's not a small claim.
So the only way is getting a solicitor? When you read the above.
Do you think we are in with a good chance of getting anywhere with this?
You dont HAVE to get a solicitor, it's just something I would suggest because of the risks.
I think from what you say,there appears to be a claim for conversion, which is a claim for the market value of the goods that were wrongfully sold.
The fact they were sold for very little is irrelevant.
Ok thanks. We don't believe that he sold them for £500 at all. He knew what they were worth and has pocketed the money. So if we won and he had to pay back the market value of the goods, would we have to wait forever for this money?
That depends on whether this guy has the money at all. If he doesnt have the cash but has assets to enforce against, then this might take longer to get your money, but if there are things you can take (like his car, property etc.,) then you should be able to get your money but it might take a longer than otherwise if they had the cash.
There are never any guarantees, and it's worth getting an enquiry done against this guy to see whether he has assets before suing him.
Ok thanks, XXXXX XXXXX of whether this could possibly be discussed in the probate or is it a different thing?
This is a very different thing. Probate is just confirmation that you have rights to adminster the will, but then this is a matter of brining a separate claim to recover money.
Ok thanks very much for answering all my questions today. Some great advice.