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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I have put in claim at a small claims court to reclaim rent

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Hi I have put in claim at a small claims court to reclaim rent that has not been paid. I and the defendant put in a counter claim. The counter claim was in two parts. The first part I agree with. I put the claim in the name of only one tenant and not in both names. I would like to accept this aspect and place both as defendants (or now claimants?) but I refute the fact that they did not owe any rent. Is this possible?
Good morning. My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. It would be helpful to review the documents to see exactly what the issues are. I would be happy to to this for an additional fee or I can simply answer the basic question that you have raised - please let me know which you would prefer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just the basic answer please
Good morning. You will need to make an application to add the second defendant to the proceedings. The procedure is set out in Part 19 of the Civil Procedure Rules as follows: Procedure for adding and substituting parties19.4(1) The court’s permission is required to remove, add or substitute a party, unless the claim form has not been served.(2) An application for permission under paragraph (1) may be made by –(a) an existing party; or(b) a person who wishes to become a party.(3) An application for an order under rule 19.2(4) (substitution of a new party where existing party’s interest or liability has passed) –(a) may be made without notice; and(b) must be supported by evidence.(4) Nobody may be added or substituted as a claimant unless –(a) he has given his consent in writing; and(b) that consent has been filed with the court.(4A) The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs may be added as a party to proceedings only if they consent in writing.(5) An order for the removal, addition or substitution of a party must be served on –(a) all parties to the proceedings; and(b) any other person affected by the order.(6) When the court makes an order for the removal, addition or substitution of a party, it may give consequential directions about –(a) filing and serving the claim form on any new defendant;(b) serving relevant documents on the new party; and(c) the management of the proceedings. You can still maintain your claim for non-payment against both parties - simply because they have filed a defence does not mean you have to accept what you say. If the claim remains disputed the court will have to decide at trial whether the tenants owe you money or not.
The practice direction which gives more information about the procedural aspect of adding / substituting a party can be found HERE
Please remember to take a moment to rate my answer otherwise I am not paid for my work. Happy to discuss further if needed. Alice :)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alice
I would be grateful if you could tell me if a certificate of service is the correct form to complete at this stage. i know I have 14 days to respond and the court are likely to send through the details of what I need to do, but I would like to start thinking about my response today
Can you tell me how long I can use the Q&A session for? I also made a mistake on my original claim and inputted the wrong amount for the daily rate. I am completing an N244 for this at the moment and would also like to ask a couple of questions about that. Can you give me details of price and the length of time that I can ask questions
It would be my pleasure to assist you further. I have sent an offer of additional services.
Alice H and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
How was the claim form served? Did you do it personally?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I completed the form online
OK so I assume you did this through Money Claim Online and the court posted the papers?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I have just tried to send the document. Did you receive it?
OK I will just have a look at it now for you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Im just filling in the witness statement for the N244
OK. I can see that you were going to serve particulars of claim after service of the claim form. If that has been done then you must file a certificate of service. Even though the claim is against one defendant at the moment, the certificate of service is still required. Looking at the claim form, I can see a number of material errors. Unfortunately its been poorly drafted but hopefully you rectified the deficiencies in your particulars of claim. Also did you send them a letter before the claim was started giving a breakdown of what is owed and why - I ask this because the claim was issued on 23/12/15 but the rent arrears are for December 2015. So it looks like the proceedings have been issued in haste.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
there are a number of questions here. Can I answer the last question first. Please see the email correspondence regarding the arrears. This was written with the advice of the NLA.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The second point - yes the claim was written in haste and in hindsight this was a mistake. Please see attached the N244 that I wish to now file before i respond to the counter complaint. I would be grateful for any suggestions and guidance on how to complete the remainder of the form. I am unable to reach the business county court to ask their advice
OK. What type of tenancy do they have?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They have a STC year tenancy agreement that can be broken after 6 months. I served a section 21 which expired on 31/12/2015. I have instructed landlord action to help me evict the tenants but have not started this case as yet. Do you want a copy of STC and section 21 notice?
I'm unclear why you've started a claim on 23/12/15 for rent arrears rather than wait until after 31/12/15 and apply for possession? Did you give any thought to possession proceedings rather than a simple money claim?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I did. I have been to a number of training session on court proceedings and to claim for rent arrears through a section 8 can be very difficult especially as this tenant runs a property management company. If the tenant pays enough money to take the arrears to down to just below the 2 months then court proceedings are delayed. The advice I received was to start this action so that the tenants are aware that I will respond. I had to wait until the 23/12 because I could not get access to a private computer until this time. The good news is that the counter claim although well written has no evidence attached and has misleading information. I intend to respond to this when the paperwork comes through to the court but if this goes well I will keep your details and ask for advice before i submit. essentially I live with epileptic activity and with my mother in the process of dying in the states, court cases and non payment of rent and submitting a PhD i tired myself out and made a poor decision to submit at that time. the N244 eludes to this but I could make the case stronger. I have letters from the neurologist to explain the condition. Not that that explains why I tried to submit when I was too tired and not prepared. That was just stupid!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The tenants have not paid for this months rent but the advice was always just to put in the first claim, have the tenants take me seriously and then make a full claim for the rest of the rent owed once the tenants have left. I do believe I have a strong case as to why the rent should have been paid. This should have an impact on the way in which they respond to the claim to the court to repossess the house
I understand and given your explanation I agree that a money judgment is probably a better solution than possession proceedings at this stage. So, you need to file your certificate of service. You also need to make the application to amend the particulars of claim which is what your current N244 deals with. You will have to make a separate application to add the second tenant as second defendant. The costs for this will obviously start mounting and you might not recover your application fees as the defendant would argue that they should not be liable for mistakes you made in your paperwork.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I understand the cost will mount and I am angry with myself. naming one claimant was intended so I knew that cost was coming. Can you have a read of the N244 and let me know what you think and how I should end the statement. I will have to use another piece of paper and I will copy in the email I sent to Lewisham council was I think was used by Oliver Roberts PC 121PL to come to his decision that the defendants request to start a criminal case against me. I have attached these documents that I intend to send as evidence to back up my N244 claim
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just to let you know I will add a £50 tip at the end of this session as I am aware you are not paid much for spending this time with me
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Im just filling out the N215 now
That's very kind of you but as we are only a Q&A site, I am not allowed to help draft documents only to answer questions and give information. If you require help with drafting it would be much better to get a solicitor to do it for you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay so can you read the N244 document and let me know if you think I have made enough of a case. Could you also help me to fill in questions 4 -9. I am not sure even having read the guidance notes. i am also not sure of the fee for this, do you know?
No problem. I have to go offline for about an hour but will be back with you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks thats great. I could do with a break too
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alice
When you come back could you have a look at my amended N244. i have just received my letter from the courts and the date of service 28.12.2015. This means that I was on time with the details of the particular and the dependents responded with too much haste.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
again rather than giving advice on drafting could you let me know whether you advice that I seek further legal advice before I send the application later today
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This is a copy of the details of the particulars I sent by email on 5/1/2015. This is where I outlined the details of the case. There was not enough room on the claim form so I opted to send in this way
Thanks for the additional information. I have looked at your N244 and the particulars of claim which was submitted under a covering letter by e-mail. There are a few points that you need to consider: The claim is for £1,100 plus interest. You now wish to apply to amend the daily rate from £5.04 to £0.24 (twenty four pence) because of an error in calculating the interest due. If you make the N244 application with consent (i.e. the defendant agrees to the change) the court fee is £55 otherwise the fee is normal fee £155 (the equivalent of over 12 months of interest) - it is not economical to spend money making an application to amend the claim to change the interest when you will not recover that sum from the defendant. Surely you're better off not making the amendment and just abandoning the claim for interest?Certificate of service. This needs to be lodged as soon as possible regarding the service of the particulars of claim. However, Rule 22.1 of the Civil Procedure Rules states that a statement of case e.g. particulars of claim must have a signed statement of truth but yours does not appear to have one. It is unlikely therefore that the document as it stands is CPR compliant and, if the defendant spots it, she could apply to strike it out. Police investigation. I am unclear about the relevance of the email.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi thanks for that. can I have about an hour to think that over and come back to you?
Yes, of course. I would recommend that you see a solicitor in person to get your paperwork in order otherwise the entire claim could be struck out. You may also wish to think about abandoning this claim altogether and starting fresh proceedings.
Please remember to take a moment to rate my answer otherwise I will not be paid for my time. I am happy to discuss further if needed. Thank you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can I abandon the claim and start a fresh when there is a counter claim?
Good evening. I've received your private message but this conversation thread has come to an end :( I suggest you start a new question so we can continue to discuss the issues. Please make sure you mark the question "FOR ALICE H".If you prefer to speak on the telephone (to save time and get the information more quickly) you can select that option and I will arrange a call for you.Thank youAlice