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Small claims court case: Respondant returning papers as "Addressee unknown"

  • 25-04-2015 10:01pm
    Registered Users Posts: 802 ✭✭✭

    I was wondering if anyone could offer advice over the following circumstance that I am in with a small claims court case.

    I was previously a tenant in a house in Belfast. The housemate had originally paid the deposit for the whole house before I moved in. As such, when I moved in, he had requested that I pay him the deposit, which I did. I had not signed a lease. I paid my rent directly into the landlords bank account. I stayed there over a year.
    30 days before I left, I gave notice to the housemates and to the landlord that I would be leaving. I had also requested the return of my deposit from the housemate. He said that he would return it to me, which I have in writing (texts, facebook messages and emails). They were happy that all my bills were cleared, that I had left the house in a clean and tidy state, and that they would find a replacement housemate.

    It is now over 5 months since I left and I have not received the deposit. The housemate gave numerous dates in that he would return it to me but none have materialised. He has since stopped communicating with me. As such, from advice from the NI Housing rights services, I have opened a case with the NI small claims court.

    Unfortunately, when the court issued the proceedings papers to the housemate at the address, they were returned as "Addressee unknown". I have spoken to the landlord who has confirmed that he is still resident at that address. As such, it looks like the housemate has just returned the papers as "addressee unknown" even though he does, in fact, reside at that address.

    I have emailled the court clerk who has told me that the case cannot proceed unless the court has an acceptable address to send the papers.

    From reading online, I read that the respondents workplace address can also be used. Unfortunately the respondent is on the social welfare.

    I have asked the landlord if he could confirm in writing that the housemate resides at that address, but he has been hesitant. He said that he "does not want to annoy him as he is getting people into the house for him".

    As such, I dont know how I can proceed with the case. Would anyone be able to offer a suggested course of action?

    Thank you for your help!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,934 ✭✭✭MarkAnthony

    Is getting the documents professionally served an option for small claims?

  • Registered Users Posts: 802 ✭✭✭SchrodingersCat

    Hi Mark Anthony,
    Thank you for the response. Do you know the process of getting such a service and how much they typically cost?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,934 ✭✭✭MarkAnthony

    I make no recommendations, simply googled:

    Normally work of the grey market that is private dicks and law students wanting some ready cash.

    Now that I think of it, I needed to get affidavits done when I was doing it so perhaps it's a sideline for solicitors firms with law student interns. If a PI does it presumably they have a relationship with a solicitors, or is there some other way they can produce the affidavit?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,034 ✭✭✭dalta5billion

    Unfortunately people who are friends with their postman can simply tell him/her to reject the letter in this way. Happens in the Republic too.

    It's a nightmare, all dodgy characters worth their salt know that registered post in an A4 brown envelope is bad news for then.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,730 ✭✭✭✭Fred Swanson

    This post has been deleted.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,730 ✭✭✭✭Fred Swanson

    This post has been deleted.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,907 ✭✭✭✭Kristopherus

    This post has been deleted.

    Can he do that in Norn Iron? Different laws up there?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,730 ✭✭✭✭Fred Swanson

    This post has been deleted.

  • Registered Users Posts: 802 ✭✭✭SchrodingersCat

    Hi folks,
    Just to give an update ito help anyone else is in a similiar situation:
    The landlord ended up agreeing to give me the proof of address of the defendant. I gave this to the court who re-issued the papers to the same address. When these got returned again as "addressee unknown", the court gave me a "default decree" stating that since no no dispute or counterclaim was received from the defendant, they had to pay me the amount owed. As I still havent received the payment, I have lodged it with the Enforcement of Judgements office. Hopefully this will result in getting it resolved.

    Thanks for your help folks.