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We would appreciate a feedback/advice with regards to the following:
We are not professional property investors. We rented our apartment out due to moving oversees because of the work. One of the tenants rented our apartment during 3 years from 2012 until 2015. We established/realised the oversight of not protecting the deposit before the end of the 3rd year lease. We bought the insurance/deposit protection immediately before the tenant moved out. Deposit was paid back/returned to the tenant in full.
The tenants are affluent childless couple with one of them working for the government/paid by the tax payers. We have recently (more than two years after the end of the tenancy) received a claim from the "No win no fee company", who were instructed by the tenants to act on their behalf demanding the amount of 9 times of the deposit (equivalent to 3 month of our combined salary). We are still based oversees.
We would really appreciate advise/feedback with regards to this situation.
Thank you in advance
You failed to comply with an over 10-year old law.
Government brought in these penalties (and extended the time landlords had to comply, more than doubling..) after years, decades of landlords withholding deposits from tenants, to "encourage" landlords to comply and do the decent thing.
Try & negotiate a deal with tenants.
That tenants are affluent & childless makes no difference. Any more than the landlord being improvised and with 9 kids means deposit adjudicators give more to landlord.
Yes, of course, I have got things legally wrong and had to pay the financial, time & aggravation costs of my stupidity & ignorance.
Harsh but fair comment
Perhaps as you suggest they come to an arrangement which could be for a lesser amount as any win would see the solicitor take a large chunk of the compensation.
Not sure what they would take
In the region of 40%!?
Better to offer without any more hassle
Full and final settlement.
Mind you I don't know what these no win no fee contracts are like.
The plaintiffs may be obligated to continue the claim
We did bought the protection and we did paid the deposit back and there were no issue with the tenant. The Law which allows to demand a substantial amount of money years after the event seem more like a permission to money extortion
Yes you did eventually buy the protection
It was just too late
3 years late! !
Ignorance of the law no matter how seemingly unjust is no excuse
You are clearly genuine people and had no intention of avoiding legal requirements.
The law however says you did.
The law is not always just as you are discovering
Not sure what the taxation position is; but perhaps you would be able to offset the compensation against your tax bill!!
I think it’s disgraceful.
I hate this compensation culture.
If the deposit was returned in full on time then the tenants suffered no hardship.
I realise it’s a law but it’s a stupid one. Two people should be fined a quarter of their combined annual income because some parasitic lawyers need to find another revenue stream now that car manufacturers are starting to fit anti-whiplash seats?
Makes me sick to my stomach.
I share your sentiments as I'm sure many others do.
But thems the rules!!
It is an unfair kick in the teeth; but a line has to be drawn somewhere.
Negotiation is the best way out of it.
Tenants would prefer no legal hassle
Just an agreed cheque in the post for a lesser amount.
Or refuse to pay
End up with a CCJ
There's no getting out of it if you have assets in the UK.
Agree wholeheartedly magicmanalex, you replied while I was writing my comment! Haha.
I despise the compensation culture as well, just lazy bloodsuckers in my opinion. Like you say, the tenants suffered no hardship at all. I'm certain a judge would realize that, they're only human after all and can see where the law is an ass most of the time.
Why do most landlords and solicitors advise people to bend over take it up the backside straight away when threatened by these leaches? If everyone does that then the leaches and bozo's will win every time! Fight fire with fire I say
I agree, I would never roll over and pay so easily. Test in the courts, making a claim years after the event shouldn't hold up. These no win no fee guys are relying on bullying tactics. Some Landlords with some moral fibre should take these claims through the courts and get this law amended in the High Court to prevent these unethical legal companies turning this into another PPI.
Can i ask the name of the Firm of Solicitors that are doing this?
I wonder if they have a property department?
Can't imagine they will get anymore business from landlords if they find out what they are doing.
From what I understand they are debt collectors, using external solicitors.