I cant believe this woman can get me a CCJ!

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by trickywoo, Dec 13, 2005.

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  1. No - it's not Trisha! I need help here and can't see the CAB folks until next week. In Novemeber Mrs Woo and I moved to a new rented house and the landlady in our old house has been sending us emails and phots of the place in a helluva state demanding monies for new furiniture, redecoration and cleaning. Now, fair dos the place wasn't spotless but the paint was the cheapest possible and we didn't take any photos ourselves (I know, I know). She wants £750 plus interest and I reckon £300 (plus the deposit which she already has) is enough. Now, I really don't want to go to Court and I'm happy to pay the £300 but as far as I can see from the forms because I'm only offerning to pay some of the amount claimed I'll get a CCJ! Arghhh! Is this really the case? Is it my only option to pay the lot? Seems most unfair.

    Any non-NAAFI advice VERY greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,

    TW
    Gatwick
     
  2. Small claims court is a bit of a lottery. However, if you prepare well, turn up early, wear a decent suit (and regimental tie), keep polite and calm but firm, you can come out on top as I have 2 or 3 times. Mind, I was in the right.

    If you can manage to make the other party look mad, angry or untruthful you should be on a winner. Remember that the judge would be in a proper court if he was any good. None of them have even glanced at any of the papers in any of the several cases I have been at. It is all down to you and the other party on the day.

    Good luck.
     
  3. So even though she has the photos I should still argue it to the wire? My gut feeling is to do this. She does have previous - she called out the council on our neighbours claiming their garden was overrun - and this in a private house. Also, we were there for 18 months and every 6 she gave us a sheet saying all was fine.
     
  4. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    If she makes a claim in the Small Claims Court, you will receive a pack containing the summons and various forms. You then have several options:

    - admit the claim and pay the whole amount claimed

    - admit the claim and ask for time to pay

    - admit part of the claim and defend the rest

    - defend the whole claim

    More details here: Court Service

    You don't have to go to Court if you defend the claim. Small Claims are heard by a Registrar, not a Judge, and it's all done in private. Most cases are dealt with by post; if you do decide to go, and lose, the other side can claim costs for attending.

    As to the case itself, what evidence does she have that the photographs are recent? Anyone can change the date on a digital camera. What evidence does she have that you are responsible for the state of the place? Did she not turn up and do a handover? Claiming for cleaning is a well-known trick to hang on to deposits.

    You have written evidence that when she 'inspected' in the past all was well. You are an ex-serviceman and Mrs Trickwoo is houseproud - you do not live in a sh!thole. You are shocked at her scurrilous slurs on your reputation. You left the property in a clean and tidy state, and cannot be responsible for anything that happened subsequently.

    If you do go to Court, you can ask her questions, such as how many times has she not returned deposits in the past.
     
  5. Registrar? He was referred to as 'judge' at mine, but my point remains. They were obviously not interested. I like your advice though VB. Good tactics, esp. if combined with my approach.
     
  6. Viro - legend!

    I know we're partially responsible and will put up the cash for that but I had no idea we could ask her about deposit returns or the dates of the photos. She even turned up at my wife's work and harrangued her outside about a CCJ stopping her promotion prospects. Rianna's an immigrant and it scared her silly. She's also been saying things about the missus at (both) our childrens schools but we've no proof there either. None the less, The Swift, Selective Sword of Justice....oh, hang on. That rings a distant bell. Perhaps not!
     
  7. Enfin - if we still admit to half do we still get the CCJ? There's nowhere on any of the www resources indicating otherwise.
     
  8. Viros advice is spot on.

    The small claims court is completely undaunting, I use it all the time.

    If you decide on a hearing the judge / registrar is level headed and wise to cretins and timewasters. More often than not they are on the side of those who appear morally correct in the absence of evidence.

    In small cliams costs are limited.

    Just don't call the judge 'Your majesty' :D
     
  9. If a CCJ is awarded you are given 30 days to pay in full and the CCJ is struck from the register.
     
  10. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    You are correct, Steamy. My error, and apologies to you.
     
  11. OK. I'll offer half and make sure I've got the cash on the day. If they want more then I'll contest and make sure I have more cash the next time. With VB and Steamy's excellent advice I reckon I might get less than half. I'll wear my Arrse socks for luck.

    Sincere thanks gentlemen.
     
  12. you can get statements. Take them yourself. with dates, times, what was said by whom. They will have some force in this type of court.

    Good point about not calling the judge your majesty.

    For the record, 'hot buns' is bad too. I dont want to make that mistake ever again......

    :D
     
  13. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    To answer you second question, Tricky, you can admit half, and the court will ask the claimant if she will accept that. If she does, and you pay it, no CCJ. If she doesn't, then she may get judgment and you will have to pay the whole amount and get a CCJ (subject to paying quickly as MDN has mentioned).

    It's worth noting that the Civil Procedure Rules require commercial claimants to have tried other methods of getting payment first; in other words, court should be a last resort. If she has just sent you a few emails, I'd be inclined to defend the whole thing, and suggest that she is a vexatious litigant - she is using the court unnecessarily as you would have been happy to negotiate - it's just that you needed time to take advice.
     
  14. If you don't attend court and are awarded a CCJ you can apply to have it set aside later.

    You can also apply to have the hearing moved to your local court, giving the claimant the nause of coming to you.
     
  15. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    In light of this you should definately defend the case, and go for a hearing. The Administration of Justice Act states:
    S40 Punishment for unlawful harassment of debtors.

    My bold.

    If this woman is a commercial landlord she may well have a Consumer Credit Licence, in which case she will also be bound by the OFT Debt Guidelines which are quite specific about it being forbidden to visit people at work, or other public place such as hospital or school, and to speak to third parties.

    I've used this successfully with debt collection agencies and companies threatening soldiers that they'll write to the CO etc. The OFT are very hot on this sort of thing at the moment, and can (and have) revoke credit licences.