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About Hippogriff

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  1. It's not clear what your approach is. If it is simply the Deposit angle, as I've suggested, then you can easily do that yourself as it is an open-and-shut case. If you're trying to bundle all of your angst and complaints together in one kind of Super Case, then it might be [much] more complicated.
  2. Agreements might say something like "a minimum of 24 hours to enter the property to conduct repairs or perform inspections"... but at least some aspect of what you told us about was just your Landlord knocking on the door to present you with something. Walking in is, indeed, a different thing, I agree. If the Council team wouldn't take it further because the issues weren't "severe enough" then that actually works against you, not for you. You need to focus here. There is an obvious path to success and adding more and more things to the mix complicates matters and doesn't add weight to anything. But all this is why I feel you're getting distracted away from the simple, biggest win - the Deposit. If I was you I would move out as quickly and simply as you possibly can... then take a breather and go in to bat on the Deposit only. Forget the other stuff. There's no clear path to success with any of it. And, even if there was something out there about a 30 day timeline for a repair (there isn't) it doesn't come with a monetary win for you. In the same way for the GSC... the penalty to the Landlord could be an unlimited fine and even imprisonment... but that's a penalty for them but not a win for you. A Court will look at the Deposit protection in isolation - was it protected, or not? And impose a penalty based on that. They won't increase the penalty if your Landlord wasn't a nice chap. What I'm saying is deal with this in a black and white way... don't pin too many hopes on emotional distress (this isn't America). The Deposit is good in this regard... the penalty comes to you and is can be lucrative. Good luck. Are you sure? It might just say "undelivered, returned to sender". Also, they also could just always be out, right? You need something to land on their doormat and be considered delivered / served. You are assuming too much when you don't need to go to all this trouble. The advice you received in this regard is poor. Don't worry too much... plenty of people do it, thinking they are being clever... they don't understand the postal service... a Solicitor should though. Assuming a Court would be interested in why anyone refused to sign a letter is also a stretch too far. Too many grey areas here.... too complicated. This is an open-and-shut case but you are trying to boil the ocean. I urge you to re-think and focus on the big win.
  3. A mistake people often make (Tenant to Landlord and Landlord to Tenant) is sending actual letters via something like Recorded Delivery... the service that requires a signature as proof of delivery. Firstly, this costs you more and gives you a false sense of security / achievement... and it can easily be foiled... if the recipient knows it is coming and they know they don't want it, then they can just refuse to sign for it. All your plans evaporate. Far, far better to just send two copies of the same letter via normal First Class post... get yourself a free proof of postage from the counter... for your purposes a First Class letter is considered "served" two days after the date sent. You have no issues, then, with people being out or refusing to sign for Recorded Delivery letters (this works both ways - if I have to send a Section 21 I will send two copies of the same form... I will even go to two different Post Offices, it's not as onerous as you think, and get my proof of postage - I am then covered).
  4. You (the OP in their last post) appear to be conflating a number of things... kinda weirdly. I'm going to try and disabuse you of any unrealistic hopes you might have... Uncompleted repair works aren't something you sue for... you follow a clearly defined formal process which means actual written letters and follow-ups and a reasonable time allowed, escalation and follow-up again. Only after all these paths have been exhausted might you reach a point where you then could consider withholding rent to offset the cost of repairs you undertake yourself (pay for, I mean)... but you don't sue anyone for repairs that weren't done. The wording of a tenancy agreement isn't something you sue for... you either accept the words and sign it, or you protest and ask for changes and then either sign the updated one or move out if you're not happy with what happens. I don't see how this is pertinent in the grand scheme of things either. An invalid notice isn't something you sue for... if an invalid notice is served then it eventually (through escalating over the various eviction paths where you refuse to leave) gets to Court and the Court throws it out and tells the Landlord to "try again"... whether it's invalid or not isn't relevant. In fact, an invalid notice is in the interests of the Tenant, for obvious reasons. Even the most inept Landlord will get their notice right in the end... but it just slows things down, massively, but it's not something you sue over... and it's not emotional harassment. And the fact is you're leaving anyway... of your own accord, for somewhere better. You've done what all Tenants have the right to do - vote with their feet. Unannounced attendances certainly rob you of your "quiet enjoyment"... but there's no formal requirement to notify a Tenant of just visiting / popping their head in (there might be something in your particular agreement, I mean - I would never do it, but some folk are strange like that) - especially if one party might think it's just "friendly" (I know, know! But no-one knows what goes on inside the heads of others) - and that is something that you would need to follow-up at the time by complaining formally to the Landlord and making it quite clear that you do not give your permission for the Landlord to attend without notice, based on the quiet enjoyment angle. Again, not something you'd sue for - it's not illegal eviction, after all. Mould... could be the property, but could be Tenant lifestyle. Reliably hard to prove anything in this regard. Especially after the fact. How are you able to make hay from this? I don't think that you are. If you wanted to do something about it at the time then you would / should have gotten the right people at the Council (Environmental Health?) involved and they would have gone in to bat for you, on this matter, with the Landlord and, if there was anything that needed to be done, they would've forced the Landlord to do it. All the Landlord has to do is say "I never experienced any mould with other Tenants"... and there's doubt sown. Of course, it could be the property... sure it could... but it then falls under repairs and remedial action again... not something you sue for. The Deposit is your big win. The other stuff is just noise. All that said, if the Solicitor comes back and says you're due £1,000,000 for all these things... 🙂 well, I'd be surprised, but I'm not going to correct them... however, I would be suspicious. You are not a one-trick pony... but, in reality, it might be better to think in that vein?
  5. The onus is not on you, as Tenant, to prove the Deposit was never protected. The onus is on the Landlord to prove the Deposit was protected - fully, in time and correctly (by that I mean that the Prescribed Information was served to you at the time).
  6. It is not 3x guaranteed. Anyway, if you start at 3x the Landlord might think - "that's my maximum exposure anyway" (not thinking of any costs) - and decide to take a chance on the OP not even following-through. Negotiation tactics are very personal... but my proposal was to offer the Landlord a sweetener and get them to seriously contemplate not even bothering going to Court and settle the matter once and for all quickly. It was also so the OP can appear fair-minded and principled and use that as a short-cut to a settlement - a bird in the hand for both sides. Of course, the Landlord might think there are extenuating circumstances in their favour... maybe they have a single property and are one of these 'accidental' Landlords, maybe they lost their job at the time or had a family crisis that they think can explain-away the failure... of course, none of these alter the facts - a case would still be won but the Court's discretion of 1x to 3x might come into play (my impression was they try to reserve the 3x penalties for egregious repeated offenders who showed no interest in complying - I could be wrong)... and the Landlord might, reasonably, think - "I feel sure I would be more on the 1x side of things, I'm willing to take a chance". I never thought of publicity as a negative consequence for a small private Landlord, but I guess it could be - there'll be records of it 'out there' for people to see. That's a good point. Regardless, the Landlord should be delighted to not go to Court, for any reason, agreed... my advice to any Landlord is to settle before it gets there. Plenty moan about the penalty not being proportionate... and why should the Tenant get a windfall as they suffered no loss... it's all academic, the law is clear, easy to comply with, and any Landlord who moans like this gets short shrift from me. The OP should remember... - they have a long time to act, 6 years, it doesn't have to be rushed - you don't need to pay anyone to do this, you can start yourself - a Court has no discretion to impose a penalty of 0x if the Deposit was not protected - it's fine starting with 3x, the Landlord starting at 1x and everyone settling on 2x (or another figure) - the penalty is 1x to 3x (not necessarily in multiples of x) per tenancy (but usually) So... if there was a first fixed term tenancy starting in 2019 that ran until 2020... and then it was renewed as a new fixed term tenancy running from 2020 to 2021... and the Deposit was not protected either time... that's 2x to 6x as a penalty. The OP is moving out at the end of this month... my suggestion is to wait until they're in their new place before commencing anything... just retain known working contact details for the Landlord and hit them with a LBA when the dust settles. There is still the challenge of the tenancy ending... I gather there's no Deposit live at the moment... so I wonder what approach the Landlord will take to any damages that are considered beyond fair wear-and-tear when any Check-out is done. It will be interesting if the OP comes back on this.
  7. Rather than Deposit return... which appears to have already happened... I am guiding towards following-up on a non-protection penalty... of 1x to 3x the Deposit value. The fact it was returned at some point doesn't absolve the Landlord of failing to protect it when it was taken, as a Deposit, in the first place. The act of failing to protect the Deposit still occurred, therefore the penalty is still due... but it won't come to the Tenants automatically... they'll have to start somewhere. I'm a Landlord myself and there is no excuse for not protecting a Tenant's Deposit. It is simple to do. Can cost nothing. And if a Landlord doesn't bother... then you start to suspect they always wanted to take advantage of you, from the outset. In the past too many Landlords thought that a Deposit taken was some kind of perk of the job that they just 'stole' at the end of the tenancy. They fell into the trap of thinking it was, kind of, their money. It never was. It always was the Tenant's money. Seeing as the legislation has been in place since (around) 2007... there's no excuse for a Landlord taking a Deposit to not protect it. Any Landlord who doesn't isn't aware of their obligations... or is (and thinks the Tenant isn't). I would start with a Letter Before Action along with a realistic offer to settle (maybe 2x if we are talking about a single tenancy), as I said... the Landlord may realise their predicament (and that they're on a hiding-to-nothing) and either agree or counter-offer to settle (likely 1x or 1.5x). That might well be something the OP is interested in, especially when moving.
  8. Is that a no-win-no-fee Solicitor? It's not really needed if your Deposit was taken (and subsequently returned) but never protected. You'd said - "We'd caught him out that he had not put the money into a deposit scheme, which we also know is illegal." and I agree. You shouldn't need a Solicitor to pore over 235 items of anything. It is a clear-cut case... very black-and-white... a Court (if it gets that far) would consider a) was a Deposit taken by the Landlord and, if so, b) was it protected at all and, if so, c) was it done both in time and correctly? I would have started with a Letter Before Action - template letters are available for download on various sites - and progress with confidence of success. The aim is not to end up at Court... but to get the Landlord to realise the pickle he is in - the zero chance of success - and offer a settlement, which you would accept... all without any Solicitor taking a portion of what's due you. You can do all this when you're safely in your new property... it doesn't have to be while the current tenancy is ongoing. P.S. - the reason why I suggest you don't need help is because often a Landlord just needs to realise (ignorance is no excuse) that if they go to Court the Court has no discretion to let them off, unless they can prove they took a Deposit and protected it - which this Landlord cannot. All a Court has discretion over is the amount of penalty. Sometimes Landlords do not understand this - they think there's ways and means to get out of it - "my mum passed away", " I was on holiday", "I forgot", "I didn't know I had to do it", "I only did it a little late", "I protected it but forget to serve the right set of documents on the Tenant"... none of them are valid excuses... it's a) was a Deposit taken, b) was it protected. You know a) = yes and b) = no, so you will win a Court case... but everyone would prefer a settlement.
  9. And what will you be doing about the Deposit situation once you're safely somewhere else and you can catch time to breathe?
  10. Hullo - has anyone got any knowledge of a place you can turn up and look at paving slabs? I have a small number of 900mm x 600mm cracked slabs that I believe are specifically riven Indian Stone Mint Fossil (could be Buff Fossil, I suppose... definitely some kind of fossil, as they have fossils in, but I'd know when I see them). I would like to be able to choose some, hand over some significant money, load a few into the boot of my car and drive off... rather than have a 1 tonne pack of it delivered to my driveway for £500 (as most places seem to be keen on doing). Any ideas appreciated.
  11. My experience during 2021 was that timber has gone up in price... significantly. For me I was talking about two things - one was fencing material from Howarth Timber - I bought it in two batches... the first time what I bought was £44... the next time, exact same order, about a month later - it was £69... I remember the prices clearly because the first was just under the contactless limit and the second... er... wasn't. I also ordered some PSE beech online... and it was ruddy expensive. At one point it almost seemed cheaper to buy rough sawn and a frikkin' thicknesser to go with it (and the future). The fencing stuff was quite rough and I spent a long time sanding it all down to look its best... I could've run it through a thicknesser in about 15 minutes... a Triton TPT125 is less than £300 if you get it right.
  12. Possibly... one of the main points of an Insurance-backed guarantee is that if the original tradesperson retires or becomes a bus driver or whatever, you have a distinct route to getting satisfaction... however, I would also think you shoud've been given some details of the scheme used back when the job was done... I don't think it's generally up to you to go chasing-around, trying to find someone or some company who might not even exist still... you should already have the details you need to progress this... so your question is kinda incorrect in the way it's asked... you'd not get the Builder to pay... you'd claim on the Insurance that was, hopefully, set up. I fear you are talking about something else... like you think you can claim on his business Insurance from when he was trading... that I'm not sure of.
  13. The part of Handsworth I know is a mix of older houses (terraces that are many decades old) and some new builds - Barratt did a big estate across from the ASDA. Most of those new builds wouldn't reach £300,000... more like £200,000 for the majority - 4 bedroom properties with garage. At the right time of day you can be in the city in 10 minutes, at the wrong time of day... 45 minutes. There's also Waverley, which is strictly Rotherham, but many house builders operate[d] down there... and it's basically the same travel situation into Sheffield. Both are worth checking-out unless the idea of new build puts you off.
  14. Likewise, an Agent cannot / should not have a blanket ban policy on pets either. While they may think it's easier to "just say no" they act on behalf of the Landlords and it could easily be the case that a Landlord is fine with pets... even encourages them... so the instructions from all of the Landlords they work for could never be the same - so they should always, ideally, take the request to the Landlord for consideration... in practice whether that happens is another thing entirely. Through my years of letting property I have found that Tenants with pets often stay longer than those without. This is something that I encourage. It's been years since I was happy with Tenant changeover periods being short. The average length of tenancy in England is still (I believe) around 18 months... for a Landlord that means every 18 months you're hit with effort and cost... which (as we are all lazy) I'm sure we'd like to avoid. If a pet influences a Tenant to stay on, and there are no other issues, then I'm enlightened and I'm all for pets.
  15. I should've come back to this... it seems that the email address - council.tax@sheffield.gov.uk - does actually still work. It's just that there's no automated response that acts as a receipt. I actually got a reply from a real person ten days later. I tried the online contact form, but I never received anything back from that angle - maybe they tied both my requests together... or maybe that went into a black hole. I don't know.
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