Predictably given my landlord’s stubborn nature my claim against her has gone all the way to court with the court hearing date next week.
Naturally, I am feeling a bit anxious about court and I’ve been trying to research as much as I can about the actual hearing and how good my chances are but there is a very surprising lack of information out there.
So what is it like actually going to a small court hearing? How formal is it? How long does it usually last? Do I need to prepare for more than a brief statement and perhaps some documents about taking apart her defence?
And then what do you make of my case? Will the judge actually award me what am asking which is my six weeks rent back whilst the property didn’t have hot water and heating?
Very briefly the flat didn’t have heating and hot water from late January until early March because for the first three weeks she refused to believe me that there was a heating problem and then after that, she had to send round three tradespeople until they’d finally replaced the part that was faulty.
Her defence is that I only contacted her three weeks into the tenancy that there were problems with the heating and hot water, and that she is not responsible for the issues with the tradespeople and even blaming me for being difficult to get hold off.
The evidence I have submitted is as follows:
My call logs and text messages to prove when I called her and that I’d texted the tradespeople to say I could always be in the flat or find someone who would pop round to let them in and the texts also show that they’d be back and then started ignoring my texts and calls.
Emails between the agency in the first week (the property was owner managed but I wasn’t given the landlady’s number until the agency gave it to me) in which the agency said they’d contact the landlady to ask her to resolve the issues.
So, I feel I’ve a strong chance of winnings and have asked my landlady for a return of the rent while I was there; however, I have some concerns:
As I understand it the court is more about recompense for loss and not compensation and my losses were somewhat mitigated by staying with my boyfriend ( which did add to my commute; although I am unable to prove that, and that despite not being there during the night I did sometimes go there during the day between work shifts.
The landlady is 84 (I know that because she wrote it in her defence!) I have a strong suspicion she has some difficulty as she was rude and angry every time we talked. She also mistakenly accused me of not paying my rent at one point and didn’t apologise when I’d convinced the agency who then started badgering me that I had. I don’t want to cause her unnecessary stress and am unsure how best to be sensitive to her age whilst picking apart her defence. I also worry that the judge might be more lenient with her.
What little information I can find suggests that in similar situations judges are pretty sympathetic to landlords as long as the landlords can show they at least tried to fix the problem and in the landlady’s defence she was somewhat trying to fix the problem for the last three weeks. I would argue here however that she probably caused the delays by not keeping on top of the tradespeople.
Thanks for reading!
TLDR: No hot water and heating for six weeks so asking for rent back but have concerns about the hearing itself.