I have replied to the court summons stating that the notices seeking possession are not valid for reasons that don't need to be detailed here. This letter arrives after the court has sent a copy of my defence to these 'solicitors'.
RE: MY LANDLORDS FULL NAME - V - MY NAME
CASE NO: AB12345
Recently we received a cheque in an envelope without any covering letter. The cheque is for £52.00 dated 26 September 1998 issued by Abbey National and it is payable D.Gordon and gives the reference number VK/Gordon. You must appreciate that there are several people working in this office and we have got a number of files. We would ask you that in future if you send any cheque or any document to this office you should send a covering letter making it clear that it originates from you and with which particular case or file you are sending the name of the parties and also stating exactly why you are sending that document or cheque. If you do not follow the procedure which we have described then we regret that we may not know for what purpose the document or cheque has been sent.
We note your reply to possession is silent whether you agree or disagree with the arrears of rent set out in the Particulars of Claim. Would you please let us know whether you agree with the figures. In case you disagree with the figures then please explain why and how much amount you admit.
In the reply you say "payment of rent were initially delayed in order
to force the landlord to carry out essential repairs". We hereby
require you to supply us with details of each and every essential
repair you are referring there, exactly what was (inserted manually
ed and when you reported it to the landlord
and when the work was carried out.
What first struck me about this document is the absolute CRAP that is that first paragraph. It is total nonsense - they had a reference and my name as drawer of the cheque, paid to my landlord. It got me thinking - Why are they writing this crap?. The answer is that they are deliberately trying to unsettle me. Then I noticed that the last paragraph is also fairly hostile - "We hereby require you ... This is especially relevant as I know that withholding rent to force the landlord to carry out repairs is not a defence to not paying the rent - and even these crap solicitors should know that. From there it was fairly easy - it's that central paragraph that they are really after.
I can see that they are keen to trap me into admitting that I owe a certain amount of rent (probably about £2,800) because otherwise they probably have no chance of getting it from me.
There's more to this analysis. O.K. it's fairly clear that they are from a different cultural background, but are they playing on that for their own advantage? Of course they are. They are acting dumb, hoping that I am racist, so that I consider them to be stupid as a racist would and slip up and give them what they want. Prospective solicitors would have to have a minimal standard of competence in English before anyone would accept them for training (and I would expect that to apply in India too). I am not at all impressed by this because it does not show any originality or creativity - I think of it as their habitual way of conducting themselves.
There is more. They are also trying to catch me by using a command from authority. The first paragraph is like a scolding from a child's parents. They have had to search for something to be able to do this - and what they found is far too poor. The last paragraph is similar but also asserts authority over me - they are telling that I must conform to their authority. I consider this very powerful as they are trying to get me to perform a certain action. By performing that action I would be submitting and accepting their authority. Then they would have real power over me. There is also the danger that by replying to that request, I would also slip-up and give them what they want.