Just a quick update on the South Lettings/South Residential saga. They have agreed to use the dispute resolution service, which is good of them. Hopefully we’ll be able to get this all sorted (and even more hopefully, the guys at the deposit protection place will find in my favour :-P ).
Before I continue, may I just apologise for the recent down-time this site experienced. It would appear the web-server wasn’t feeling up to hosting this site, so I’ve moved it to its own server, which should hopefully cope better (fingers crossed).
This afternoon I visited some solicitors just to confirm my legal rights with regards to the charges being imposed by South Lettings (if you haven’t heard the saga so far check out my other post). I was told that it sounded like what they were doing was trying to impose new terms in the contract after it had been signed (the new terms being the new charges). A relevant case in UK law is that of ‘Thornton vs Shoe Lane Parking Ltd‘, which basically seems to boil down as follows…
Mr Thornton parked in a car park, received a ticket to park, then upon returning to his car was injured. To my understanding, Shoe Lane Parking claimed they were not liable to pay compensation because on the ticket was written words to the effect of ‘Terms and Conditions Apply’.
The judge ruled that because Mr Thornton had not been made aware of the terms before entering in to the contract (which was concluded by him accepting the ticket), he is not bound by them.
He was committed at the very moment when he put his money into the machine. The contract was concluded at that time. It can be translated into offer and acceptance in this way: the offer is made when the proprietor of the machine holds it out as being ready to receive the money. The acceptance takes place when the customer puts his money into the slot. The terms of the offer are contained in the notice placed on or near the machine stating what is offered for the money. The customer is bound by those terms as long as they are sufficiently brought to his notice before-hand, but not otherwise. He is not bound by the terms printed on the ticket if they differ from the notice, because the ticket comes too late. [cited from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thornton_v_Shoe_Lane_Parking_Ltd]
In my case, I believe the contract was entered in to when I signed the tenancy agreement (some time in August), and although I didn’t even receive the letter referring to the £35 fees, it was dated mid-September, and therefore came after the contract had been entered into (and as for the £15, there was no mention on that even in the letter detailing the £35 fee as far as I can tell).
Anyway, more updates to come soon :)