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My ex-girlfriend removed property from my home without permission and is now refusing to return it. It included furniture and fittings of a value up to £7,500. I spoke to the police but they said it was a domestic matter. Can I make a claim against her in the small claims or magistrates court for the return of my property?
This happened in 2009, is there a statute of limitations or does the fact that I have already asked her to return my property via a letter from my solicitor on the 4th March 2009 (to which I have never received a reply) void any statute of limitation problems?
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Is it joint property or solely belongs to you?
It's property solely owned by me.
Ok. You want it back or replacement cost?
Either, although I'd prefer replacement cost as she's been using my property for the last 5 years.
You need to write and set out your losses and request a return or the costs for replacement within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not return or give you the money you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.
You are asking the Court for an order she 'delivery up' the items or money Judgment
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
What evidence will I need to supply in support of my claim?
The breakdown of what items you are claiming and any receipts or proof of ownership if you have them
If I can't find proof by way of receipts, will estimates do?
Or copies of bank statements showing purchases?
Only if its contested you purchased it / them would you need that
You have to show, on balance they belong to you
So, for the purposes of making a claim, I would need a list of those items removed/ stolen, as much evidence as I can gather as to when I purchased them and for how much (receipts if I have them and copies of bank statements showing debits) and write to my ex-girlfriend asking for their return with a 14 day deadline. If she fails to respond within that deadline, I submit a claim to my local county court?
Is there a link to identifying my local county court?
I'll get digging.
Can I help with anything else today Richard?
No, this will keep me busy for a while thanks. Richard
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My ex-girlfriend has now re-married, if I take her to court for the property she stole from me and win, would they as a married couple have to pay? assuming they can afford it?
No, it would only be your ex that would have to pay
I have now dug out my bank statements, photos and receipts of the property that my ex girlfriend removed from my house.
I have also written her a letter asking for my property to be returned and have given her 14 days within which to arrange delivery (I will send this letter recorded delivery).
In the interim, in my claim to the court, should I include the overall replacement cost of the property or the original purchase cost?
Also, should I expect the court to apply depreciation?
Further, before my ex moved out of my house (I wasn't living here at the time, and was renting another property to keep out of her way), I wrote to her and asked to send an Inventory Company to the house to avoid a situation exactly such as this. As you may imagine, my ex refused to allow the Inventory Company to visit claiming she was too busy (preparing to take my property it appears).
Can I also submit this correspondence as part of my claim?
The furniture she took was circa 4 years old, but even 2nd hand is still pretty expensive.
I'll do my best to find sensible replacement values should I have to apply to the court and keep my powder dry with respect to the correspondence.