My name is Paul Fletcher and I live in Lancaster in the North West of England, I'm an IT Contractor by profession and my work takes me all over the UK, I prefer not to commute long-distance, so when I'm working in the Midlands or the South, I usually take board & lodgings locally. In December 2017 I got a 6 month contract in Birmingham and I rented a room from a guy called Karl in his large Victorian House on Bristol Road - I shared the house with Karl who was a live-in Landlord. The room was advertised on a really good website called spareroom.co.uk. Anyway, Karl and I agreed a price of £400pm to rent the room, plus a Security deposit of £500. What is interesting in relation to the Court case was that there was no hardcopy signed contract between Karl and myself. We used email and SMS Text Message to form the terms of our 'rental agreement'. The lack of a Signed Contract was the reason I met with a Solicitor before starting my Small Claims action, but in the end (and as I was advised) the absence of a contract didn't really affect the Case at all.
Everything was fine in the house until early 2018, I had returned home for the new year when I received a phone call from Karl telling me that he had had some personal issues and as a result he would not allow me back to the house. This was a big problem as I had to be back at work next day - I had effectively been evicted and had <24 hours to sort my stuff out and find alternative accommodation, but I understood Karl's personal reasons and agreed to move out without creating a fuss; however when I asked Karl to return my Security deposit and advanced paid rent (I'd paid 6 weeks ahead) Karl said he didn't have it. A few more SMS messages were exchanged that day and but I ended up with a horrible sinking feeling that getting my money back was going to be a nightmare. Anyway, I spent the remainder of the weekend hurriedly arranging hotel accommodation and working out the logistics of getting my stuff out of Karl's house and transported to a Hotel.
I left Karl alone for just over a week to attend to his personal matter, but such were my feelings of pessimism after our initial SMS 'discussions', I immediately began researching what my legal options were. I was prepared to give Karl some slack to keep the matter out of Court, but when I contacted him again, it became clear (and there is more to this that I won't disclose) that my initial feeling was correct - my requests to even agree to a timetable to repay the money, were fobbed-off time and time again. Eventually I wrote a hardcopy letter to Karl, explaining the position and requesting that he pay me £1100 or I'd start legal proceedings against him, in an attempt to be flexible I gave him the option of paying me back by monthly installments. I received a shirty SMS message in response to my letter, and on that basis I started my Small Claims action the following day...
My Case took more than 6 months from start to finish (depending on how you define fiinsh) - Here are the key moments/milestones:
Date / Action
02-Jan-2018: I was asked by Karl to vacate my rented room with immediate effect.
12-Jan-2018: Contacted Karl after a 8 day hiatus requesting my rent/deposit back to be returned - no progress.
18-Jan-2018: Hand delivered a letter to Karl, with a final request for the money to be repaid. Threatened legal proceedings.
18-Jan-2018: Text message reply from Karl.
20-Jan-2018: Used moneyclaim.gov.uk website to initiate my Court action. Claimed £1100 rent, + 2 weeks hotel £550. Fee paid: £105.
23-Feb-2018: I received a "Notice that a Defence had been filed" form from the Court, with a photocopy of Karl's defence statement.
23 Feb-2018: Completed the Directions Questionnaire, sent to Court.
15-Mar-2018: I received pre-hearing documentation, requested to Supply an outline of my Case plus copies of evidence I will bring to Hearing.
08-Apr-2018: Notified that my Hearing Date was set for May 4 2018. Confirmed. Fee paid: £170
04-May-2018: Court Hearing. Which took place in Judge's Chambers of Birmingham CC. Karl, Myself, Judge, plus one other Court official in attendance.
12-May-2018: Notified by post that the Judgment was in my favour. Karl ordered to pay my claim in full plus costs: £1925 (Judgment ignored by Karl).
30-May-2018: Applied for Attachment of Earnings order against Karl, Fee Paid: £110, (added to Karl's bill, making a total of £2035).
30-May-2018: Karl was sent a Letter asking for his work/payroll details and to state his (financial) outgoings.
29-Jun-2018: I received a copy of Karl's reply detailing his pay and outgoings, Karl's take home pay is ~£1000pm
14-Jul-2018: I received a N60 CAPS form stating that the Judge had decided that Karl will pay me £45pm with a protected earnings limit of £900
18-Jul-2018: I wrote to the Court asking for a Hearing to request that the monthly amount be increased from £45.
18-Aug-2018: Attended an Attachment of earnings Appeal Hearing in Birmingham CC, Karl's payment amended to £80pm, protected earnings: £800.
That was the end of my Case. The full Claim £2035 to be paid by Karl at @£80 per month via an Attachment of Earnings order (i.e. direct from his salary), with the final payment being made in September 2020!
Website info and Contact Address
Although this website is authentic, I have changed a number of details to avoid any embarrassment for the persons concerned.
The contact email address for the website is paul (AT) howtotakesomeonetocourt.info - replace (AT) with @
Please note that admin of this website is not my main job. While I do read all correspondence, I can't guarantee to respond to all questions/enquiries. If I don't respond to your email - please don't be offended.