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Advance payment still not received - eligible for small claims court?

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294 views 1 replies latest reply: 27 June 2014
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Tenant

My query is not about a deposit as such, but about an advance payment.
I moved into a flat that a someone was himself letting, and looking for roommates for the other 3 rooms. He had contacted me after seeing my ad on Spareoom and said that the room was a little more expensive than my budget, but that he could make the price cheaper if I paid either 3 months in advance, or cheaper still if I paid 6 months in advance. I chose the 6 month option, as well as paying a £500 deposit. We had an agreement confirmed over email (and signed and scanned by him – he claimed that this would be sufficient as a contract). It outlined the payments, the room, the date I would move in and specified that I should give one months notice if I were to move out (and that I would receive one months notice from him, if anything were to occur).
His behaviour in the house made me increasingly uncomfortable after only 3 weeks, and I gave him a months notice (via email). He tried to contest this, but admitted that he could not force me to stay. Despite stating that he would pay back the deposit and remaining advance months rent that were given to him when I moved out, two months later he has only given me half of the amount, in little amounts when he seems to feel like it. Two dates have been given to him by which to repay the money in full, and both times he has given excuses. A formal letter was sent to him and he is now claiming that our agreement does not state that he should pay me back within a specific time frame.
He seems to think that I’ve entered into a promise (backed by funds) to stay 6 months in the house, even though it was not stated anywhere in our agreement that I was obliged to stay for that length of time.
I would like to take him to small claims court for the rest of the amount, as I’m scared that he will just disappear before paying the whole amount back (admittedly, he could do that even if he were found guilty by a small claims court as well). My question is, would I have a case, and would I be ruled against because it appears that I’ve unknowingly entered into an agreement to stay six months?
Any advice would be much appreciated!

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Tenant

Hi, thanks for your post. I would advise you to seek legal advice in this matter. In my opinion however, you would have a case, as you clearly had a one month release clause. It sounds like quite the scam this person has going! All the best.

Disclaimer: This information is derived from personal experience and should not be relied upon as a definitive or accurate interpretation of the law.

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