I am going to lose my home for I fell in a legal trap laid by someone with help from legal aid.
I rented out a room to a lodger in my home, little did I know this friendly face was going to become my worst nightmare.
The thing with con-artists, is that they know how to befriend you and you never expect you will be next. The simple matter is that you would think that a lodger living with you is not a Tenant, right? Wrong, be warned, there is a loophole in the law. A con-artists can make a lot of money from unsuspecting living-in landlords. When I asked them (the lodger) to leave, they became difficult and abusive, then stopped paying rent, so after 3 months of asking them to leave they forced me to put their bags out. I was not breaking the law and the town is full of bedsits. I also found out they had a council property they illegally subletted, while they lived in different places and schemed to make more money.
Little did I know, they were an experienced landlord renting out their social housing property for a decade. After making life intolerable in my own home they got what they wanted. Forcing me to put their stuff out so they can come after me for compensation using legal aid. The fraud officer for the housing association from which they had a house could not locate them because they kept moving to avoid arrest, over the years they also slightly changed their name and date of birth in order to be hard to detect. The council gave up as this was ongoing for 4 years and could not track them. At the time, I did not know any of that.
People like this person (con-artists), know the loopholes in the law, and they set a trap for you by doing things, whether through cajoling, pretending they are in trouble, they have a sick relative, lost their job, they need your help and even when necessary they can be aggressive and intimidating to bully you and make you fall into the trap without realising.
I rented out a room in my home for £90 a week because I needed money and now not only, I had to pay their almost £11000 in compensation, pay my own legal fees, but I am going to lose my home because I have to pay their legal aid fees of £45 000. Imagine legal aid funded a claim that accumulated legal fees exceeding £45 000 for £11000 claim value, this is a person who had a warrant out for their arrest, she could afford a better lawyer than I could (I used a law centre as that’s all I could afford). It is also strange that legal aid funded a homelessness claim for someone who has a social housing property, then it is discovered that the social housing property is illegally rented, and the council is actually after that person. Yet, legal aid had no issue in continuing to fund this claim despite my complaints to legal aid that were ignored most of the time, at other times all I hear, is that the claim is being investigated, so eventually my case was over and legal aid did not take any action. This is our hard-earned taxes, going to con-artist to make more money from us. In order to pay my legal fees and their compensation, I had to sell my car, borrow money and use my credit cards, and the saga is not over yet, as I am expected to pay their legal fees of over £45 000. I have no money to appeal and no money to fight these legal fees, so I will end up losing my home.
To hurt me even more, they dragged my ex-partner into the claim, even though he had nothing to do with it, and was not even around. However, because he works, I could not get legal aid, the fact that he lives from pay cheque to pay cheque apparently does not matter. I could not afford a high street solicitor and had to go to a law centre, yet the con-artist can afford the best barristers as they are on legal aid. Moreover, they used the barristers for advice for hours on hours and as often as they felt like and accumulated more than £45 000 in legal fees which is extremely high for a housing claim.
In court all claims against my ex-partner were dismissed as he did not even live in the property, and I am left with these endless costs. In fact, all the claims against me but one, were also dismissed, the one of implied tenancy (the trap they setup for me). The judge seemed inexperienced to me and sought advice from their barrister, and due to a technicality in a previous case, the con-artist won one claim against me. However, the judge did not seem to be bothered that the legal fees are abnormally high, nor the fact that all claims against my ex-partner were dismissed or that all claims but one against me were dismissed.
I am devastated emotionally and financially, I have now been diagnosed with clinical depression, I lost every penny I have and accumulated debt, their solicitor is coming after me for their unrealistic legal costs, I have no money to appeal, and I have no money to pay, so they will come after my home, and all I did is help this lodger and support them and I was trying to please them by giving them space and agreeing to what they begged me for.
Strangely enough, I am an MA social work full time student for my ambition has always been to help disadvantaged people. Although this experience will not divert me from becoming a social worker to help the needy, if I manage to keep my home, I will not take a lodger, and I will be more careful when dealing with overly nice people.
I am desperately trying to raise £45 000 to pay this con-artists legal fees, money that will be refunded to legal aid, hence going back to the public purse and eventually save my home. In return, once I qualify and get a job as a social worker, I will pay £100 a month to charity either until I pay all the money collected here or until I stop working. Thank you for reading and hopefully giving, god bless.