How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JimLawyer Your Own Question
JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17444
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
97337639
Type Your Law Question Here...
JimLawyer is online now

A previous flatmate left her furniture in my house 2 years

Customer Question

Hi, a previous flatmate left her furniture in my house 2 years ago only to ask it back 6 months ago, which she did not follow through. I had to give away the furniture as a new flatmate moved in but now she wants compensation for it and threatens to send me to court.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: england
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I tried to come to an agreement on money and I explained that she did not follow through it although I asked her to pick up her furniture
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: She messaged all my friends and stalked my current flatmate and texted her
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

I am one of the legal experts on the site and I am a dual-qualified solicitor (UK & Republic of Ireland)

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Sorry to hear of the issue.

It sounds like you were reasonable and gave them a chance to collect it which they failed to do.

If it's your house, you can tell them to remove it and give them 14 days minimum to do so - you would be within your rights to dispose of it if you gave them notification, which you did.

If they sued you, you will need to defend the claim. Which is easy to do.

They should send a letter before action to you first which is required under the pre action protocol to give you the chance to avoid court action. They usually give you 14 days to pay before they will take civil court action. You can reply to refuse payment and also ask them to note they can only claim the cost of the furniture on the used market (they were not brand new items).

It is recommended that you reply to this letter given the courts expect parties in a dispute to engage and discuss their dispute, to try and avoid court action.

If they do sue, you will receive court documents (a response pack) which you must complete and return to the court. It is a tick box exercise for the most part and there is a short section to write a defence which is easy enough though please feel free to come back to this site if you need any more help.

You should not ignore the court papers as if you do, the claimant will apply for judgment in default meaning they win and you would not be allowed to defend the claim.

A claim will also take 9-12 months to be decided at court. If you lost then you would get 14 days to pay the judgment before the claimant can enforce the order, and 30 days to pay in full before it is registered with credit agencies. The claimant cannot recover legal costs if they win, in a claim under £10K (a small claim), all they can claim are the court fees and interest.

If the claim has no merit (which it would in my view given the facts) then you have an option (after your defence is filed) to apply to strike the claim out. The court will consider an application if the claim has no merit, or is misconceived. You should first invite the claimant to voluntarily discontinue their claim within 7 days if it gets to this point - tell them if they don't then you will apply to strike out and seek your costs if you are forced to do so.

If you have no response or they reply and refuse then you could apply to strike out. The application costs £275 but this is recoverable if your application succeeds. If you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits then you can ask the court to waive the court fee. If you won the application, the claim is struck out.

The hearing (if the case gets that far) is likely to be held remotely, it's you, a district judge (who is a practising solicitor or barrister) and someone from the claimant company. The Judge decides and if you lost, you get 14 days to pay the sum. If paid in full within 30 days then nothing goes on your credit record.

I can assist you going forwards if it gets to the point they issue a claim.


Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

I hope this helps

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

It was a pleasure to assist you today and I hope this answers the question.

If you have any follow up questions or if you would like me to clarify anything I have said, please let me know and I will be happy to help.

Many thanks,

Jim



Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Just a final note that if you would like to reconnect with me at a later date, simply add me as a favourite expert and you can then tag me in a question starting off with @JimLawyer.

I look forward to helping you again soon.

Thanks again,

Jim



Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you Jim, as we were friends back then we verbally agreed that she could come to pick up the furniture, but there is no written agreement
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I have the communication proof between the two of us
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I mean proof of us discussing this issue
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

That's fine, an agreement can be written, verbal or implied by conduct in UK law. You can use the communication if she ends up pursuing you with a small claims case.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
She blames me that I did not give her the notice
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

She can't expect you to keep her stuff at your house for 2 years though. It's unreasonable.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Okay, can I send you all the communication we had so far just to have a legal eye over them?
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you so much for all the information
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Lastly would this case affect my visa applications or immigration in the uk
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Hi, if you lose and you don't pay the court ordered sum within 30 days, a CCJ is then put your credit record (a county court judgment) which may affect immigration status but you may want to ask an immigration solicitor - there are such experts on this site and if you ask  second opinion it's no extra charge.

I can review the communication though please note this would be an extra charge under our premium service offer (the cost depends on how much there is to review).

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
4 emails and some text messages
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Immigration status would be only affected if I fail to pay right?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** send it over now
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Yes as if you don't pay a CCJ then it goes on your credit record for 6 years. I think it would affect matters if you wanted to apply for citizenship but I am not an immigration lawyer

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Okay, thank you
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

My pleasure