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a couple of things to cross off
1) make sure you have the bank statements where they pay rent in and show the clear non rent payment - they might try the old, we pay in cash and here's some fake receipts trick, make sure you have something with your signature on they might try the fake signature effort
2) they will prob try their luck with saying there's issues with the property, leak here, damp there etc with zoomed in photos of issues which they will say they made you aware of and you did nothing etc. Have a good argument for this. they will need to prove they communicated this with you and gave you access / comms to fix.
3) they could simply try the 'i'm in no state to be evicted card....i might commit suicide....' again they will need to prove this with doctors etc etc.
Anyway good luck
regards Andrew Peers - property investor / sourcer - 07912674181
Property Redress Scheme Number 011436 NLA member 174404
The key is tp be prepared - to have proof of deposit protection, proof of serving prescribed information, Gas safely certificate, proof of right to rent leaflet being provided and proof of service of a valid notice that you require possession under s21. Once these boxes are ticked, the Judge will listen to fair and reasoned argument. Without, you may face a problem. I wish you luck with your case.
Sadly me experience is that "winning" is one matter, but actually getting the money from them is another.
Based on my experience, it is important to be sure they have the ability to pay. I.e own a substantial asset like a car or savings. I found even when I paid a court baliff, he declined to remove their [large] TV and expensive power tools etc, saying that after auction costs it was not worth it. My only pleasure was knowing the CCJ would be a financial nuisance and act as a warning to others.
Following eviction I accepted advice not to waste more money suing for the very costly damage the followed as the tenant vented his anger when he left. Tip no. 2 is have good insurance in place!
Perhaps a bit late now but for future issues then consider joining one of the Landlord Associations such as https://www.landlords.org.uk for support and assistance. Only £11pm.....bargain!
As has been said above, ensure your paperwork is 100% correct and complete and you should be fine.
Several years ago, when I worked for a property company, we went to court to gain possession. Our accounts department had prepared a statement of arrears that was not clearly laid out and immediately understandable and showed an arrears total of approx. £3k. The tenant said he didn't think the figure was that high. The Judge asked him what he thought the figure was and he replied "about £2k". The Judge said to the tenant "I have to tell you that if the arrears are more than two month's rent " (rent was only about £400 p.c.m.) "I am obliged to give the Landlord possession. So let me ask you again, what do you think the arrears are?". The tenant them came up with a low ball figure whereupon the Judge adjourned the case for two weeks to get a clearer statement of accounts. So basically the Judge invited the tenant to lie!!
Different occasion, different court, different Judge. Tenant didn't turn up. Judge - who himself was a Landlord - was very sympathetic and even suggested we ask for costs as well as the arrears.
Tenant didn't show up. I was in the court for a maximum of 2 mins and that time was spent working out how much the tenants owes me. All good!
Good result! Silly tenant!