How to dispute unfair landlord charges

Set out your evidence and the reasons you don't agree with deductions from your deposit in writing.

Keep copies for yourself and get proof that they were received if you can.

2. Raise a dispute with your deposit scheme

Your deposit should be protected with a deposit protection scheme if you have an assured shorthold tenancy.

Each scheme has a free dispute resolution service which you and your landlord can choose to use if you can't agree over the return of your deposit.

raise the dispute usually through the scheme's website

submit evidence within the scheme's deadline

wait for the scheme to decide what happens to the deposit

You usually only have one chance to submit your evidence.

Check the scheme's online information about evidence and time limits before you start.

Find out more about raising a dispute with:

What happens once the scheme has your evidence?

The scheme looks at all the evidence to decide how much of the deposit should be returned to you.

It usually takes at least 1 month for a decision and it could be longer.

The scheme's decision is final. There is no further review process.

3. Consider court action

it's protected but your landlord won't use the scheme's dispute service

it doesn't need to be protected but the landlord won't return it

You can claim compensation if your landlord has broken deposit protection rules. The court can also look at how much of the deposit should be returned to you.

Court action takes time and you usually have to pay a fee to start a claim.

Your landlord might return your money to avoid court action if you have a good case.

Always try to resolve a problem with a business before seeking help from a consumer protection agency. You can do this by speaking directly with the salesperson or manager or if this fails, by writing a complaint letter.

What to include in a complaint letter

When writing a complaint letter you should:

  • describe your problem and the outcome you want
  • include key dates, such as when you purchased the goods or services and when the problem occurred
  • identify what action you’ve already taken to fix the problem and what you will do if you and the seller cannot resolve the problem
  • ask for a response within a reasonable time
  • attach a copy of any supporting relevant documentation such as a receipt or invoice.

Complaint letter tool

Use this tool to develop a complaint letter that you can print or email to the business. You can vary it to fit your particular problem.

Complaint letter example

Below is an example of a complaint letter:

RE: COMPLAINT ABOUT FAULTY TELEVISION CABINET PURCHASED AT CABINET WORLD ON 15 DECEMBER 2016

I am unhappy with the quality of a television cabinet I bought at 5 Street on 15 December and I am writing to seek a replacement.

The cabinet doors do not open and shut properly and the stain on the cabinet is uneven, with one half darker than the other. The cabinet was delivered on 30 December and I noticed this problem as soon as I unpacked it from the box.

The cabinet is not of acceptable quality and does not match the sample cabinet I was shown in store. I would like you to replace it with one of the same quality and finish as the sample and arrange for return of the faulty cabinet at no cost.

I have attached a photocopy of my receipt as proof of purchase.

I would like to have this problem fixed quickly please. If I do not hear from you within 10 days, I will lodge a formal complaint with Consumer Affairs in my state.

You can contact me on 1234 5678 during working hours or after hours on 123 456 789 to discuss this matter further.

You have certain rights and responsibilities if you’re a tenant in privately rented property.

Your rights

As a tenant, you have the right to:

  • live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
  • have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends – and in some circumstances have your deposit protected
  • challenge excessively high charges
  • know who your landlord is
  • live in the property undisturbed
  • see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
  • have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years

If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law.

If you do not know who your landlord is, write to the person or company you pay rent to. Your landlord can be fined If they do not give you this information within 21 days.

When you start a new tenancy

When you start a new assured or short assured tenancy, your landlord must give you:

  • a copy of the How to rent guide if you live in England
  • a tenant information pack if you live in Scotland

Your responsibilities

You should give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has not changed these rules, so you should work with your landlord to make sure that any visits are for an urgent reason (for example, you do not have hot water, heating or toilet facilities).

  • take good care of the property, for example turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
  • pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
  • pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example Council Tax or utility bills
  • repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
  • only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it

Coronavirus has not changed your responsibilities – continue to pay rent to the best of your ability and speak to your landlord if you cannot.

Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you do not meet your responsibilities.

If your landlord lives outside the UK

You may have to deduct tax from your rent under HMRC ’s ‘non-resident landlord scheme’.

How to dispute unfair landlord charges

QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright is part of a national network of law firms with offices in Worcester, Droitwich, Evesham and St Johns. Our Solicitors provide expert legal advice to individuals and businesses local to Worcestershire and nationwide. At the heart of everything we do, is excellent customer service.

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What our clients say

Excluding or limiting liability in B2B terms and conditions

Setting out the terms upon which you provide your goods or services to another business will reduce the risk of a dispute by making clear the expectations on either side. But what if a dispute arises and a client or customer claims that they have suffered a loss because of your product or service?

The hidden costs of leasehold property

You may have seen recent media reports on the so-called leasehold scandal. First, escalating ground rents, which increase exponentially after periodic reviews. Then, the cladding crisis, which has spotlighted the costs landlords can pass on through service charges. So, if you are buying a new home, should you avoid leasehold properties?

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney grants one person the authority to act on behalf of or represent another.

Can I protect my home from care fees?

The number of over 65s needing 24-hour care will rise to over 13 million by 2035, according to a report published in The Lancet Public Health.[1] Our population is aging. In 50 years’ time there will be more than 20 million people aged 65 plus.[2] As we get older, we are more likely to suffer from disabilities and chronic health conditions so subsequently we need more health and personal care. That’s why it is important to plan ways to finance any future care fees as early as possible.

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QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright is the trading name of Parkinson Wright LLP which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA No. Worcester 462047 – Droitwich 462060 – Evesham 462063 – St Johns 605874). The Authority's rules can be accessed at www.sra.org.uk

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According to the House of Lords case of Street v Mountford [1985] UKHL 4, a lease is the grant of a right to the exclusive possession of land for a determinate term less than that which the grantor himself has in the land. This definition identifies three essential elements:

  • exclusive possession;
  • determinate term;
  • term less than that of grantor.

Exclusive possession

Exclusive possession is an essential ingredient of a lease; without exclusive possession there can be no lease. Exclusive possession is the right to use premises to the exclusion of all others, including the landlord himself.

If the occupier has no right to exclusive possession of the premises then his right to use the premises cannot amount to a lease, although it may be some lesser right, such as a licence or possibly an easement. However, the fact that a person had been given exclusive possession is not conclusive proof that he has a lease, for it is also possible to have a licence or certain other rights in land, without exclusive possession.

Although exclusive possession normally gives the tenant the right to exclude everyone else, including the landlord, from the premises, the lease may reserve the right for the landlord to enter the premises on certain occasions, eg, to inspect the state of repair of the property. Such a right must be exercised at reasonable hours and in a reasonable manner and does not prevent the tenant having exclusive possession, though a right for the landlord to come and go as he pleases without the tenant’s permission would have this effect.

Thus in Appah v Parncliffe Investments Ltd [1964] 1WLR 1064, in which the ‘landlord’ had reserved the right to come into the premises as and when he chose to empty meters and change linen, the arrangement was held to be a licence, since the occupier did not have exclusive possession.

Determinate term

The commencement of the period must be certain in a lease. Normally, if no mention is made in the agreement, it will be deemed to start immediately (Furness v Bond (1888) 4 TLR 457). If, however, one has only an agreement for a future lease, it will be void unless it is clear at what date the lease is to start, either from an express term in the contract or by inference (Harvey v Pratt [1965] 1 WLR 1025).

A landlord will sometimes wish to permit the use of his property for an uncertain period. This was the position with wartime lettings, where leases were made ‘for the duration of the war’ but were held to be invalid because they did not create a term for a certain period. (Lace v Chantler [1944] KB 368).

One way of satisfying the parties’ wish to avoid being held to a fixed period is by granting a lease for a certain term but with a provision for earlier determination on the occurrence of a certain event. Thus, during the war a lease could have been granted for 10 years, with a provision for determination if the war ended earlier, and this would satisfy the rule in Lace v Chantler. It is also acceptable for a periodic tenancy to restrict the landlord’s right to give notice, unless for a specified purpose, during a prescribed period.

The requirement that the maximum duration of the lease must be certain means the grant of a lease ‘for T’s life’ or ‘until T marries’ would not, under the general rules, be capable of amounting to a legal estate, because it is not granted for a certain period. However, it used to be common for such leases to be granted and therefore the draftsmen of the property legislation provided a saving provision for such cases.

Term less than that of grantor

An owner in fee simple is able to grant a lease of his property for any term because the fee simple is itself effectively perpetual. Thus, there is nothing to prevent a fee simple owner granting a lease to a tenant for 9,000 years. In fact 99-year leases are common and 999-year leases, though hardly frequent, are to be found in practice.

While there can only be one fee simple estate in one piece of land, there can be more than one term of years. A tenant may grant a lease of the premises (a sublease) to a subtenant, as long as this sublease will last for a shorter period than the original lease (the head lease). The subtenant may also grant a further lease of the same premises (an under lease) to an undertenant, as long as the under-lease is for a shorter period than the sublease. Thus if L, the fee simple owner, grants T a 99-year lease of a property on 1 January 1980, T may grant a sublease to S for any shorter period (eg, 25 years) and S may grant an under lease to U for any period shorter than the sublease (eg, a monthly tenancy).

Lucy graduated in law from the University of Greenwich, and is also an NCTJ trained journalist. A legal writer and editor with over 20 years&#39 experience writing about the law.

Land Law

We try our very best to keep everything on this site accurate and up-to-date, but the law changes quite a bit and we’ve got over 1,300 pages to keep an eye on. As such, we can’t guarantee everything is 100% accurate. So please don’t treat it as legal advice or rely on the information. You should take legal advice from a solicitor where appropriate. If you spot anything that looks incorrect, please drop us an email, and we’ll get it sorted!

A notice to quit is a document from a landlord or owner notifying a tenant that they need to leave the rented premises. Notices of this nature give a tenant a specific date to vacate and settle unpaid rent or rectify other concerns which violate the terms of the lease.

What are the contents of a notice to quit?

A notice to quit names the people ordered to vacate the premises, the leaving date, the total sum of unpaid rent, any problems that need to be remedied, the period covered by the accrued amount, and information as to who the vacated property should be surrendered.

Sections 8 and 21 notices

Section 8 notice to quit

Also known as ‘Section 8 possession notice,’ Section 8 notice to quit is served on the tenant by a landlord who seeks to regain possession of the property while the fixed term of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) is still in force.

The Section 8 notice, however, can only be used when the tenant committed a breach of the tenancy agreement, the most common of which is non-payment of rent. This section provides 17 grounds for a landlord to seek repossession of his property from a tenant before the expiration of the AST.

Once the landlord complies with the service of this notice and upon failure or refusal of the tenant to leave the premises, the landlord can apply for an order of possession from the court. If this is granted, the landlord may evict the tenant from the premises.

Landlords can give between two weeks’ and two months’ notice depending on which terms have been broken.

Section 21 Notice to Quit

A Section 21 notice to quit is given by a landlord who seeks repossession of the premises after a fixed term tenancy ends – if there’s a written contract – or during a tenancy with no fixed end date (a ‘periodic’ tenancy).

If the tenancy started or was renewed after 30 September 2015, landlords must give tenants the Section 21 notice by filling in form 6a. If the tenancy was valid before this date the landlord can write their own Section 21 notice; if it’s a periodic tenancy, they must explain that they’re giving notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

At least two months’ notice must be given for the tenants to leave the property under a Section 21 notice. Tenants must be allowed to stay for any additional time covered by their final rent payment if it’s a periodic tenancy.

Landlords are not allowed to issue a Section 21 notice if:

  • it’s less than six months since the tenancy started;
  • the fixed term has not ended, unless a contract clause permits this;
  • the property is categorised as a house in multiple ccupation (HMO) and does not have a HMO licence from the council;
  • the council has served an improvement notice on the property in the last six months;
  • the council has served a notice in the last six months that says it will do emergency works on the property;
  • the tenancy started after April 2007 and they have not put the tenants’ deposit in a deposit protection scheme.

Landlords can also only issue a Section 21 notice if they have given the tenants copies of: the property’s Energy Performance Certificate; a current gas safety record for the property; and the government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide.

After notice has been given, landlords should keep proof that they gave notice to the tenants. They can either fill in the certification of service form (N215) or write ‘served by [landlord’s name] on [the date]’ on the notice. If the tenants do not leave by the specified date, landlords can use the completed N215 or notice to apply for an accelerated possession order.

Lucy graduated in law from the University of Greenwich, and is also an NCTJ trained journalist. A legal writer and editor with over 20 years&#39 experience writing about the law.

A logo sits outside the offices of JPMorgan Chase & Co. in the Canary Wharf business and shopping district in London, U.K., on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to move hundreds of London-based bankers to expanded offices in Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg to preserve easy access to the European Union’s single market after Brexit, the firm’s head of investment banking said earlier in May. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. doesn’t want to give a former trader his job back despite a finding that he was unfairly dismissed by the bank to “appease its regulators” in a market-spoofing probe.

Bradley Jones, a former cash equities trader, is this week arguing for an order of reinstatement from the London employment tribunal that ruled in his favor in July. The U.S. bank contends his job no longer exists and no comparable role is available. It also said it wasn’t confident that Jones could be certified as fit and proper under market regulator’s guidelines, despite his successful wrongful termination claim.

JPMorgan, which is appealing that ruling, further argues Jones doesn’t genuinely wish to work there again and is merely attempting to circumvent the nearly 90,000-pound cap on compensation awards in U.K. employment cases.

The bank declined to comment on the matter. A lawyer for Jones didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Inside the JPMorgan Trading Desk the U.S. Called a Crime Ring

Jones successfully argued to the tribunal earlier this year that he was only fired because the bank wanted to show it was taking a tougher line on a spoofing scandal that cost it close to $1 billion in penalties.

The tribunal judge in his earlier ruling rejected JPMorgan’s claims that Jones engaged in spoofing himself and found the bank fired him “because of its desire to appease its regulators by showing it was ‘cleaning up its act.’”

On the witness stand in April, Jones expressed a desire to return to his old job, noting that some of his colleagues walked out of the bank’s London office the day he was fired.

“My colleagues at JPM are my friends, and some of them are my best friends,” Jones said in a witness statement released Wednesday. “I would like to work with them again, as I did previously, before this unfortunate, disruptive and frankly upsetting period in my life.”

Negligence in New South Wales was originally developed by Australian common law (also known as case law). Claims of negligence in NSW are now governed under the Civil Liability Act 2002.

What is negligence in New South Wales?

Negligence in NSW is defined in the Act as arising when a person does not exercise what would be considered reasonable care and skill.

A claim of negligence in NSW would arise when a person (the negligent party) breaches their common law duty of care owed to another (the claimant) which results in some damage or injury.

Elements of negligence

To make a claim of negligence in NSW, you must prove three elements:

  1. A duty of care existed between you and the person you are claiming was negligent;
  2. The other person breached their duty of care owed to you; and
  3. Damage or injury suffered by you was caused by the breach of the duty.

Duty of care

Duty of care in cases of negligence in NSW can be established through the type of relationship between the claimant and the negligent party. There are many kinds of duties of care and they can arise in many different instances.

As the common law in NSW is constantly evolving, the duty of care categories continues to grow. On occasion, the courts will find a duty of care to have existed in a previously unrecognised relationship.

The general principle of duty of care was significantly broadened by the historical English case of Donoghue v Stevenson which introduced the idea that people owe a duty of care to their neighbours.

Courts currently recognise the existence of a duty of care for the following relationships:

  • doctor to patient;
  • land owner to tenant;
  • occupier of land to visitor;
  • manufacturer to consumer;
  • teacher to student;
  • road user to any other person nearby; and
  • employer to employee.

How to dispute unfair landlord chargesWhat standard of care is required?

In addition to finding a duty of care exists, that duty of care is then held to the standard of reasonableness. This means that a claimant must prove to the court that it can be reasonably foreseen that an act (or omission) could cause damage or injury to another. Because of this, the negligent party has a duty to take steps to ensure that harm does not occur.

If there is an element of danger, the person who owes the duty must perform or act to a reasonable standard. Similarly, a person must take reasonable steps to avoid harm in circumstances where a duty is owed.

A failure in either case means they have breached the duty of care.

The type of relationship between the parties determines the level of responsibility of the person owing the duty of care. Take the relationship between teacher and student, for instance. The standard of care the teacher owes is what would be expected of a reasonable teacher having the same qualifications and experience in the same circumstances.

The court determines whether or not the person’s conduct met the standard of care based on the facts of the particular case.

Breach of a duty of care

When the standard of care has not been met a breach of a duty of care will arise.

In case of negligence in NSW, a breach of a duty of care occurs if the claimant can show:

  • There was a substantial or ‘not insignificant’ risk of harm; and
  • The negligent party knew, or ought to have reasonably known the risk of harm; and
  • A reasonable person would have taken precautions against the risk when faced with the same circumstances.

The court will determine whether there has been a breach of a duty of care on a case-by-case basis.

In deciding if a reasonable person would have taken precautions, the court considers the following:

  • The likely severity of any harm or damage;
  • The level of difficulty taking measures to avoid the harm would have been;
  • The probability of the harm if the person did not take care; and
  • The social benefits of the activity that created the risk of harm.

The harm that results from the breach

There must have been harm caused to the claimant for the breach of a duty of care owed. This is an essential element to claims for negligence in NSW.

Harm under the Act includes all forms of injury or loss, including:

  • Personal injury or death;
  • Damage to property; and
  • Economic loss, both past and future.

The claimant must have been the one to have suffered the harm. They must also be the person to lodge the claim or have the claim lodged on their behalf.

For example, in a doctor and patient relationship, the harm must have been caused to that patient and not, for instance, to the patient’s child.

Making a claim of negligence

A claim for negligence can be made by any person who has suffered some kind of harm or damage caused directly by a breach of a duty owed to them.

A claim for negligence is made by making an application to a court. The specific court to apply to depends on the details of the claim.

If you are wanting to lodge a claim of negligence in NSW, you should seek legal assistance to make the application.

Compensating for negligence

If you have suffered harm as a result of negligence in NSW, the court can award compensation to you.

The amount of compensation (or damages) paid will depend upon the specific facts of the case.

Compensation is determined by the court using the following factors:

  • The amount of financial loss suffered;
  • The extent of any personal injury;
  • The ongoing effects of the loss or injury on the person’s future ability to earn income; and
  • How much damage was caused to any personal property and the type of personal property damaged (whether it is unique or replaceable).

The person who experienced harm must also have taken reasonable steps to prevent the harm occurring. These means they must have taken minimum precautions to reduce the degree of harm suffered.

If a person has contributed to the harm suffered the amount of compensation can be reduced. This is called contributory negligence. Whether a person has contributed to their own harm will be dependent on the facts of the case.

If there is a continuing breach of a duty of care, the person suffering might be able to obtain an injunction. Injunctions act to prevent the negligent party from continuing to engage in the conduct.

Time limits

If you wish to make a claim for negligence in NSW, you must commence the action within 3 years from the date the negligence occurred. This time limit is found under the Limitation Act 1969.

You cannot bring an action of negligence in NSW until all of the elements are satisfied. This means that the damage caused by a breach of a duty of care must have already occurred.

How to dispute unfair landlord charges

Section 49 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (The Act) defines an unlicensed driver as a person who drives a motor vehicle on a road while not authorised to do so, or allows another person to drive a motor vehicle. This section also applies when a person drives in one of the following circumstances:

  • the driver licensing authority has suspended or refused to renew a person’s driver’s licence, or refused to issue a person with a licence
  • the person has had their licence cancelled
  • a court has imposed a disqualification upon the person
  • the person is subject to a disqualification because of the accumulation of an excessive number of demerit points
  • the person has an extraordinary licence and is driving contrary to a condition relating to the time, purpose or location.

What happens if I get caught driving unlicensed?

Section 49 of the Act provides that the maximum penalty for driving unlicensed is $300 for a first offence or, $600 for a subsequent offence and even a maximum of 18 months imprisonment in certain circumstances.

In July 2009, new laws were introduced in WA under section 79A of the Act, relating to ‘vehicle sanctions’ which allowed for roadside vehicle impoundment. This means that if you drive unlicensed or allow an unlicensed person to drive your vehicle, you risk having your vehicle impounded on the spot. Impoundment applies to the vehicle used by the driver at the time of the offence, this also includes borrowed vehicles or a vehicle used for commercial purposes. The cost of impoundment is around $900 for the full 28 day period, this includes the towage and storage fee of the vehicle. Vehicles which have been impounded will not be released until the $900 have been paid in full.

Section 80A of the Road Traffic Act provides for Court Imposed Impoundment and Vehicle Confiscation: In either of these instances, any vehicles licensed to the offender, including commercial vehicles, can be impounded or confiscated – even if it wasn’t used in the offence.

Section 79A gives a police officer who charges a driver with unlicensed driving the authority to contact an authorised towing contractor and organised for the vehicle to be transported to an approved storage facility, or they may call upon another police officer or person to drive or tow the vehicle to the facility. Once the vehicle is impounded, a notice will be sent to the vehicle’s licence holder. In those cases where the driver isn’t the licence holder of the car, the offending driver will also receive a notice. A copy will be retained on the court brief and at the relevant police station. Vehicles will be sold if they’re not collected 28 days after the end of the impoundment period.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay outstanding towage and impounding costs.

Why was impoundment introduced in the first place?

The aim of the immediate 28 day roadside impoundment in Western Australia (WA) is to strongly deter people driving unlicensed, which will ultimately serve to remove these high-risk drivers from the roads. Police statistics show that unlicensed drivers account for approximately 20% of the state’s fatal road crashes.

The WA laws are modelled on the New Zealand program which has been credited as having the most comprehensive and successful vehicle sanction program in the world. After the introduction of vehicle impoundment in NZ in 1999, there has been a reported 38% reduction in the number of disqualified driving offences detected by Police. In the first year of the introduction of impoundment laws, over 10,000 vehicles were impounded in WA.

Moving homes can often be a stressful experience. Some people choose to contract a professional moving company in order to make the process easier. A few reasons why some people hire a moving company include:

    Peace of mind that the movers know how to best handle your belongings and keep them safe;

These are just a few of the reasons why someone who is moving might decide to hire a professional moving company as opposed to doing it themselves, or relying on friends and family. However, it is important to do your research before hiring a company in order to ensure you and your belongings are protected. Some qualities you should look for include:

    Get Referrals: You can do this by searching the internet, or by asking friends and family members if they have utilized any professional moving services that they would recommend to you.
  • Moving Company Insurance Policy: Moving companies maintain limited liability, and recovery may further be limited by the type of insurance the company carries. You may want to purchase additional insurance for your move if you have particularly expensive or meaningful belongings.

Contents

What Do I Do If My Property Has Been Lost, Damaged, or Destroyed By a Moving Company?

The moving company is liable for damaging your possessions, but only up to a certain amount. Federal law requires all moving companies to provide liability insurance. However, their liability covers cents on the dollar.

Coverage usually works out to between $1,200 and $9,000 worth of protection. Some states do not hold moving companies liable for anything they do not pack themselves. If you still own your previous home, your possessions may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance which is far more protective than what the moving company will likely provide.

You will want to immediately document the evidence of the destruction, after first documenting your belongings before they are placed in the care of the moving company. Take pictures and record any damage as well as any proof you may be able to provide that the damage was indeed the fault of the moving company.

Be prepared to provide this documentation to the company when you contact them directly in order to resolve the dispute. You will need to provide specific facts that the property was damaged, lost, or destroyed through no fault of your own.

It will be very important to provide a copy of the contract signed, that shows that they agreed to move your belongings with reasonable care. Should you need to go to court, this will support your claim and prove that the company is responsible.

Can I Sue a Moving Company for Damages, or If The Moving Company Refuses to Deliver My Property?

Moving companies are not regulated by state or local government. Therefore, local law will not apply, and any common law contract or state statutory contract rights will be considered secondary.

Because of the complicated nature of this issue, you may want to get additional tips and information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( FMCSA ). The FMCSA works with different agencies to reduce motor carrier related accidents. If you and the moving company cannot come to an agreement on your own, you may seek an arbitration hearing or initiate legal action against your mover.

You may be able to sue the moving company after filing a claim with the company itself. You will need to prove that the moving company initially received your property in good condition; the goods were damaged upon delivery, or not delivered at all; and, the amount of damages are measurable.

One particular moving problem that may occur is that the moving company will offer a lower than standard rate. Once the customer has agreed to the rate, the moving company may inflate the costs and refuse to deliver the belongings until the customer pays the higher price.

Conversely, the mover explains to the customer that they had more belongings than had been anticipated, or that their items weigh more than had been quoted. They may tell the customer that they must pay an additional charge in order to have their belongings unloaded from the moving truck. This is illegal, and may justify a claim for extortion in most states.

A moving company may add charges if the customer was not honest. For example, the movers may arrive and the customer owns a grand piano that needs moving, but did not disclose that when confirming a price.

The movers may move the item but charge the customer for it. In that scenario, the contract will likely determine who is in the wrong. Part of the moving company’s responsibility to you as their customer is to provide you with a FMCSA pamphlet that details:

    How you may reach an agreement about pick up and delivery;

Are There Other Breaches or Causes of Action You Can Have Against a Moving Company?

If a court finds the moving company responsible for the damage or loss of your belongings, there are a few courses of action they may take. The court may require the moving company to cover loss of wages or income, if you were moving to another state in order to take a new job, but the moving company was so late or delayed that it caused you to miss the start of your new job.

It will be important to prove that the moving company breached your contract . Thus, it is imperative to thoroughly review the contract before signing it, in order to identify any dispute resolution options that may be available to you.

Although moving companies are regulated by federal law, you may consider filing a complaint in small claims court. Further, you may file a claim for violation of state or federal law, such as the Carmack Amendment if your move was across state lines.

Unfortunately, even this amendment limits the liability of the moving company to actual damages, and may also prevent state law claims such as those concerning negligence, breach of contract, fraud, and misrepresentation.

Should I Consult with a Lawyer for an Issue with a Moving Company?

As you can see, it can be a complicated process when a moving company damages, loses, or fails to deliver your belongings. If you cannot resolve your dispute with the moving company yourself, you will want to consult with a skilled and knowledgeable business attorney .

They will be able to review all contracts, invoices, and documentation in order to build your case. Additionally, they will represent you in front of a court of law, if necessary.

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LegalMatch Legal Writer

Michelle received her BA in English and Anthropology from Williams College, and then went on to receive her Juris Doctor from Rutgers University School of Law. After law school, she practiced as an attorney and focused on environmental policy. She later transitioned to full-time writing for a variety of publications on a wide-range of legal topics. She has written about legal marijuana, the Family Medical Leave Act, and articles designed to guide future lawyers on what steps to take after graduation. You can learn more about Michelle and her experience as a legal writer at her personal website.