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small claims court versus non-UK resident

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    small claims court versus non-UK resident

    A small claims court form has been filled out by my old letting agent from two years ago. They claim I owe them money for taking 'their' tenant and owe them a £700 finders fee.

    I terminated their services for negligence, and have not replaced them. They missed two months of rental payments toward me and quality of some jobs I had to re-order with others to get the job done right. I've not used another agency since.

    Would a small claims court peruse a non-UK resident UK citizen living abroad?

    I'm prepared to defend my claim and feel the agent is clutching at straws.

    This agency is Martin & Co. - Truly awful.
    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". Mark Twain

    #2
    With a county court judgement, the (alleged) creditor can then go to a court in your country of residence (if in the EU or Switzerland), and persue the debt there. Effectively he has to go to court twice and prove his case twice.
    Down with racism. Long live miscegenation!

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      #3
      And if the defendant continues to have assets in the jurisdiction? Might the SCC seize assets in my absence should my defence crumble?
      "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". Mark Twain

      Comment


        #4
        If you have evidence of incompetence - letters, bank statements, emails or photographs then counter sue them.

        They are relying on the fact you don't want your credit file ruined so will pay up.
        "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

        Comment


          #5
          Agents taking people small claims. Could be the start of a worrying trend.
          'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by scooterscot View Post
            A small claims court form has been filled out by my old letting agent from two years ago. They claim I owe them money for taking 'their' tenant and owe them a £700 finders fee.

            I terminated their services for negligence, and have not replaced them. They missed two months of rental payments toward me and quality of some jobs I had to re-order with others to get the job done right. I've not used another agency since.

            Would a small claims court peruse a non-UK resident UK citizen living abroad?

            I'm prepared to defend my claim and feel the agent is clutching at straws.

            This agency is Martin & Co. - Truly awful.
            Where were you domiciled when the contract was originally taken out between you and the agency? What address did they have down for you on the original contract, English or other?
            "I hope Celtic realise that, if their team is good enough, they will win. If they're not good enough, they'll not win - and they can't look at anybody else, whether it is referees or any other influence." - Walter Smith

            On them! On them! They fail!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Incognito View Post
              Where were you domiciled when the contract was originally taken out between you and the agency? What address did they have down for you on the original contract, English or other?
              UK

              My old UK address at which I no longer reside.
              "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". Mark Twain

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by scooterscot View Post
                UK

                My old UK address at which I no longer reside.
                Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982


                Jurisdiction over consumer contracts

                F97(1)In matters relating to a contract concluded by a person, the consumer, for a purpose which can be regarded as being outside his trade or profession, jurisdiction shall be determined by this rule and rules 8 and 9, without prejudice to rule 3(e) and (h)(ii), if
                ...
                The provisions of rules 7 and 8 may be departed from only by an agreement—
                (a)which is entered into after the dispute has arisen; or

                (b)which allows the consumer to bring proceedings in courts other than those indicated in those rules; or

                (c)which is entered into by the consumer and the other party to the contract, both of whom are at the time of conclusion of the contract domiciled or habitually resident in the same part of the United Kingdom, and which confers jurisdiction on the courts of that part, provided that such an agreement is not contrary to the law of that part.
                They can raise proceedings in the County Court, if they win their action they can then enforce that judgment through the German Courts or if they know you have resources in the UK they can seek recovery of those.

                Your best action is to defend the action over their breach of contract (failure to pay). I can't really comment in detail as I haven't seen the agreement.

                See Terminating contracts for "material breach" - Lexology

                In Dalkia Utilities Services Plc v Celtech International Ltd (2006) 3, the contract concerned the supply of energy services by Dalkia to the paper manufacturer Celtech, and it provided Dalkia with the right to terminate with immediate effect in the event Celtech was in "material breach of its obligations to pay…". Celtech defaulted on 3 consecutive monthly payment installments out of a total of 174 installments and Dalkia sought to terminate the contract. The English court expressly confirmed that "material breach" does not have the same meaning as "repudiatory breach", and the court went on to hold that the continued and repeated failure to make payments due under the contract in question was "material", and Dalkia was therefore entitled to terminate the contract.
                In my opinion, that is how you will wish to construct your defence. You will need to say that their actions were a material breach of the contract between you, you communicated this fact to them therefore there is no contract and their action should fail.

                I will qualify this by stating it is not provided as legal advice and you should seek professional advice from a solicitor.
                "I hope Celtic realise that, if their team is good enough, they will win. If they're not good enough, they'll not win - and they can't look at anybody else, whether it is referees or any other influence." - Walter Smith

                On them! On them! They fail!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by scooterscot View Post
                  UK

                  My old UK address at which I no longer reside.
                  Ah wait a minute, quantify please. English or UK, I.e Scotland?
                  "I hope Celtic realise that, if their team is good enough, they will win. If they're not good enough, they'll not win - and they can't look at anybody else, whether it is referees or any other influence." - Walter Smith

                  On them! On them! They fail!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Incognito View Post
                    In my opinion, that is how you will wish to construct your defence. You will need to say that their actions were a material breach of the contract between you, you communicated this fact to them therefore there is no contract and their action should fail.

                    I will qualify this by stating it is not provided as legal advice and you should seek professional advice from a solicitor.
                    Thank you. They're claiming the 2nd bullet point.

                    "Right to Terminate Our Agency
                    In respect of an active tenancy arranged through Our Agency:
                    • You may terminate Our Agency by giving Us 1 months' written notice, but
                    • Where You continue letting to a Tenant or Occupier who We introduced then You will be liable to pay Us a Tenant Finding
                    fee calculated on a notional 6 month tenancy term starting on
                    the date that Our Agency ends with the fee becoming payable on that day. If the tenancy terminates sooner than 6 months after Our Agency ends then We will make a pro-rata refund of the fee.
                    • We may terminate Our Agency by giving You 1 months' written notice, or immediately at the end of a tenancy."


                    Which would be fair. However I fired them for breeches, some trivial some not.

                    One would be failing to pay rent 1-2 months.

                    Installing equipment, for example a TV antenna my neighbour's bedroom window instead of the roof (2 story building). I then had to pay for the job all over again.

                    All trivial, but so many. Death by a thousand cuts. That was why I terminated their contract.
                    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". Mark Twain

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