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Rent Arrears and a County Court Judgement (UK)

mr-razzcocksmr-razzcocks Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Back in June, I lost my job and left the house I was sharing. I owed around £1500 in rent arrears, with the full intention of paying it off once I found another job. Since I left, the two people I was sharing with have both moved as well, and one of them informed me that she had received an email from the housing agency we were renting through saying that my debt would be written off if we gave up our deposit on the house, which, as you can imagine, was a massive weight off my mind.

However, yesterday, I received a letter from the owner of the house (who, I might add, I have had no contact with, ever, even for the two years I was living in his house), telling me that the housing agency had informed him of my arrears, and if he did not hear from me, he would issue a county court claim against me.

Am I fucked here? Is the housing agency at fault, or the owner of the house? Will I end up with no choice but to pay the debt to him in installments? What are my rights here?

mr-razzcocks on

Posts

  • Anarchy Rules!Anarchy Rules! Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I don't know what to do in your circumstances, but the citizens advice bureau is usually a pretty good place to start.

    Anarchy Rules! on
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    This is probably one of those, "If you didn't get it in writing it doesn't count when the next guy comes along" things.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Was is a lettings agency, was it a housing association, is the owner a person or an organisation? What does your tenancy agreement say, and most importantly, who signed it? Lewie's daddy works in social housing, I'll ask him about it when he gets home from work, but he'll need to know that stuff, at least.
    .

    LewieP's Mummy on
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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Print out the email you received and submit that to the owner. Tell him to take it up with the housing agency who collected your money.

    EggyToast on
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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    First, you can't end up with a CCJ without getting the opportunity to defend yourself, so don't panic yet. The first thing to establish is whether you actually do owe any money, or if you can tell him to take it up with the housing association.

    Contact the guy and explain the situation, then talk to the housing agency that told you the debt was written off. Issuing proceedings is usually a last resort. If you're at least in discussion with the guy he should hold off. Plus, if you do get a summons, being able to show that you were making a good-faith effort to resolve the situation (as you were unaware you still owed them money) can count in your favour.

    japan on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Print out the email you received and submit that to the owner. Tell him to take it up with the housing agency who collected your money.
    This is what I'd do. IANAL, but that sort of thing could be considered a binding contract (I don't know whether it would be or not), and may put the housing agency on the hook for any additional moneys owed.

    Thanatos on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Print out the email you received and submit that to the owner. Tell him to take it up with the housing agency who collected your money.
    This is what I'd do. IANAL, but that sort of thing could be considered a binding contract (I don't know whether it would be or not), and may put the housing agency on the hook for any additional moneys owed.

    It should be -- at least, it is in the US. Contracts don't take much to be binding, and in this case the housing agency contacted the individual proposing to do X if the individual did Y. The individual agreed and forfeited his deposit. Therefore the housing agency should uphold their end of the contract.

    Realistically the housing agency should also be unable to reneg on the contract or attempt to render it void, as both parties appeared to act in good faith and with the intent of completing the contract. Unless contract law is significantly different in the UK (doubtful, although some nuances might exist), the above should apply pretty well.

    But I am not a lawyer -- I'm just in the middle of a law class. What I wrote above is essentially just textbook stuff. It should still be useful, but the OP definitely should not just sit on his hands.

    EggyToast on
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  • mr-razzcocksmr-razzcocks Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Ok, just an update here. I've been in touch with the landlord and the letting agency, and I'm safe for the time being, but I might end up paying at least some of what was owed due to the fact that the email writing the debts off wasn't actually addressed to or signed by myself. This I can deal with if I'm avoiding legal action of any kind. Thanks for the advice, people. I may be back for more later on this.

    mr-razzcocks on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Print out the email you received and submit that to the owner. Tell him to take it up with the housing agency who collected your money.
    This is what I'd do. IANAL, but that sort of thing could be considered a binding contract (I don't know whether it would be or not), and may put the housing agency on the hook for any additional moneys owed.

    It should be -- at least, it is in the US. Contracts don't take much to be binding, and in this case the housing agency contacted the individual proposing to do X if the individual did Y. The individual agreed and forfeited his deposit. Therefore the housing agency should uphold their end of the contract.

    Realistically the housing agency should also be unable to reneg on the contract or attempt to render it void, as both parties appeared to act in good faith and with the intent of completing the contract. Unless contract law is significantly different in the UK (doubtful, although some nuances might exist), the above should apply pretty well.

    But I am not a lawyer -- I'm just in the middle of a law class. What I wrote above is essentially just textbook stuff. It should still be useful, but the OP definitely should not just sit on his hands.
    Most U.S. contract law is based directly on UK common law.

    Thanatos on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Ok, just an update here. I've been in touch with the landlord and the letting agency, and I'm safe for the time being, but I might end up paying at least some of what was owed due to the fact that the email writing the debts off wasn't actually addressed to or signed by myself. This I can deal with if I'm avoiding legal action of any kind. Thanks for the advice, people. I may be back for more later on this.

    Quick procedural point. The County Court system is a lot more flexible than people think it is.

    If you get a summons, you can still sort it out without going to court, If you don't sort it out and the court issues judgement in default against you, it doesn't go on the register (and thus affect your credit rating) if you pay within thirty days, or if you successfully petition the court to set it aside (you can do this if you can show that you intend to defend the matter or come to some accommodation, but are/were being prevented from doing so by something reasonably outside your control).

    The point is, you are not fucked if the court becomes involved unless you do absolutely nothing.

    japan on
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