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Lolainuk

Small Claim Court Process

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Hello there,

Me again, for my lodger for hell, yes she's back...

To recap my story:

She was a lodger for 6 month in my property, where another lodger and myself live.

I kicked her out last November but did allow the 4 week notice period.

When she left, the room was in a mess, not cleaned, wholes in the whole, stained carpet etc... so I used her deposit to fix all that, and to pay some phone calls that have been made during the period she lived in the property. I give her back a 100quids, left from her deposit in January.

She waited until end of March to send me a threatening letter saying she 'disputed' the phone bill (of 40quid over 6 month) and that if i didn't give her money back before 17th April, she'll take further action.

I've sent a copy of her threatening letter to the police, so they know in case she does something silly, I replied to her letter saying that I don't owe her any money and that she actually owes my other lodger and me some, as she used his and mine stuff that was not part of the lodger agreement. But I said that I was willing to negociate all 3 together for an outcome that suit everyone.

She completely ignored me and now, she started a process with the Money Claim online. So far, I've filled in the Defence form, and now I'm filling the allocation form.

Her evidence consists in a letter from her employer stating her car was on site a certain dates and certain hours, plus a picture of someone that vaguely look like her on a ride a Alton tower (don't ask me why, I have no clue...)

My evidence are the lodger agreement she signed, stating phone was not part of the deal, and stating that if she breached any of the rules, her deposit could been withheld, (which she had, and therefore forced me to kick her out) but naively I gave some part of her deposit back (107pounds on the initial 300), so I think she should be grateful instead of dragging me to the court.

Ok, so my concern is, I've never done that, never been dragged to court, so I'm not sure what to expect. I know she's a vicious one, so I won't lie, I'm a bit worried.

Does that process automatically lead to a court hearing? I already paid 25quid, but I guess I'll have to pay more... and it's a massive waste of judge and court staff time...

I've contacted mediation, but she refused, could that play against her? In your opinion, who is most likely to win?

What am I expected to do in a court hearing? I've searched the direct.gov.uk website that has a lot of info but if any of you have an experience to share, that would be awesome.

I can't believe she came back to haunt me...

Thank you all for advice and support,

Lola

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If she's refused mediation be sure to make the judge aware, before the hearing if given opportunity. They don't want their time wasted for vindictive purpose when a skilled mediator could have resolved it.

Develop your counter claim, to include all out of pocket expenses including travel at 45p p mile.

The fact that you settled with her at £107 looks good, although I'm guessing this wasn't offered as 'full and final' but surely that was your belief.

I don't imagine your claims for compensation for the other lodger will have value, demonstrating her abusive style is good. Be careful how you phrase it.

Don't be afraid it's good experience even if it's not a good experience.

It is stated to be an informal way for the ordinary man to resolve these issues - Balls. The judge prefers formalities to be followed and they don't like smart gits like me. Lick ass and you will do ok.

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Thank you COR,

I did insist on the fact I've contacted mediation, with copies of email and mediation form filled in. For me, I didn't really rely on getting the other stuff back, so I didn't plan on claiming anything back, but since she's doing everything she can to be a nightmare, I'm thinking, yeah, she took stuff, so no favour anymore. i refuse to let her bully me anymore.

She definitely wasn't happy for me to use the deposit, she told me that I should have bought a tin of paint and a bottle of carpet shampoo to clean her mess (even if she had 4-week notice to do that herself!)... unbelievable! But if you damage the room you rented, then it's only fair that the landlord use the deposit to cover the expense of fixing it, or is it just me living in Wonderland?

I just don't want all this sordid story to look bad on me, I don't want to waste a judge time on stuff like that especially for 40quid, but I refuse to give her anything more, she took the piss in my property right from the start, was very difficult to remove and now it's all done, she comes back and pester me for 40quid I don't even owe her!

Can I request after the case that she's added to the vexatious litigant list? or have a restraining order against her? because, let's face it, she's not poor, she's just greedy and from my point of view, she's fuming I kicked her ass out of my house and she's seeking revenge just to pester me, because going to court over 40quid... really??

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The chances are (and it's my forum bet) she won't turn up for any small claims court hearing.

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My understanding is if one party doesnt turn up or reply to the paperwork (without good reason) the other wins by default.

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Thank you for your advice,

Mortitia, I think you're right, she's just trying to have the last word, but I really don't get why annoying all the court staff/judge just to annoy me, because surely they won't really appreciate the waste of time...

Knowing the individual, she will turn up and be an smug arrogant arse trying to bully people around as usual. She clearly thinks she's in her right, but then, why not accepting the mediation? It's always good to have a neutral outsider view prior going through the whole hassle of the court hearing, surely?

Unless for drama queen like that it's their only exciting moment in life?

My other lodger accepted to be a witness, he saw her using the phone and he can confirm my description of her abusive behaviour.

I'll keep you posted of the progress... I've sent everything back, so just the long wait now....

Cheers Peeps :0)

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Thank you for your advice,

Mortitia, I think you're right, she's just trying to have the last word, but I really don't get why annoying all the court staff/judge just to annoy me, because surely they won't really appreciate the waste of time...

Knowing the individual, she will turn up and be an smug arrogant arse trying to bully people around as usual. She clearly thinks she's in her right, but then, why not accepting the mediation? It's always good to have a neutral outsider view prior going through the whole hassle of the court hearing, surely?

Unless for drama queen like that it's their only exciting moment in life?

My other lodger accepted to be a witness, he saw her using the phone and he can confirm my description of her abusive behaviour.

I'll keep you posted of the progress... I've sent everything back, so just the long wait now....

Cheers Peeps :0)

As a complete outsider to your profession I can only offer this advice about this civil court.

It is informal..no bowing and scraping.

Be honest...have your facts infront of you. Do not embelish them.

Make sure your witness is ofay with the facts as you see the case.

Dont be like CORand be a smart arse....it won't do you any good.

Have you submitted your evidence pack or are you not at that stage yet?

It was a little while ago when I went there, but each of the parties had to supply the other with facts of their side of the dispute..is that not so?

Any way best of luck.

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Remember this is a small claim in the county court, the strict rules in relation to evidence do not apply and evidence is not given on oath. It will be you the claimant and the judge sitting across a table. The starting point of all this will be the contract between you and your opponent, this will set out the terms and conditions of the agreement you had. The judge will check whether any of the terms are unfair and decide whether the contract has been broken and if so by whom. She is bringing the case so she will set out the position first, the judge will listen to what she and let you ask questions, he will then consider your defence and counterclaim you will have to set out the position as you see it and she will be given the chance to ask you questions. Once the judge has heard all of the evidence he will give he decision and provide reasons. It would be useful if you produced a chronology of events and provide copies of any receipts or bills you have to support your defence/counterclaim.

The fact that she has refused the offer of mediation will come into play in relation to costs. If she wins she would be entitled to her issue fee, allocation fee and listing fee. The judge has discretion when it comes to costs, one of the factors taken into account is conduct. The fact that she has refused mediation will go against her and even if she wins she may not get back her costs.

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A small addition to the procedure.

After you both present evidence and ask questions the judge will ask you both to sum up your case.

It caught me out the 1st time as I wasn't expecting it.

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Ok, thanks for all this good information :0)

I did send all my evidence pack with the defence form and the couterclaim thing.

I've received a letter telling us that the District judge has allocated the case with a Mediator and I have a phone appointment on 11th June. So I guess that she had to accept it at the end, if it comes from the Judge, that may have given her the hint that all that is petty and silly.

I hope mediation works, but I've read that even if you reach agreement, it is not garantied that the parties follow it, and if you want a formal document you have to pay, and you also have to pay to enforce it. :0(

so we'll see.

They told me that the mediator will be neutral but won't know anything about the case, I was quite surprised by that, because the appointment is timed (1hour) so if you have to recap all the background, it's a bit wasting time by repeating everything again, no?

I also know that you should go to mediation with good faith, open mind and a willingness to settle the dispute, which I am ready to do, but I have concerns about the claimant's intention... anyway I hope we won't need to go to court and that mediation will be the answer.

I felt quite good when I read that the judge thought the case will be good for mediation, it's not only me that thinks the amounts are silly and there was no need for court involvment...

Lodgers... eh!

cheers :0)

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