Link Parking lose in Bristol (again)
Case No. D8GF2F8Z
Claimant – Link Parking Ltd.
Defendant – Mr. A
The PCN was issued at a private block of apartments in Bristol city center. Basically, the property management company temporarily introduced a parking management scheme owing to complaints from the residents. The main intention was to deter non-residents from parking at the space allocated to the property. However, after taking charge, link parking adopted a predatory behavior and started issuing PCNs indiscriminately to everyone who did’t display a permit (which was actually issued by the property management company).
At the time of the incident (Sept. 2016), I forgot to display my permit. However, after being issued the PCN, I wrote to Link Parking explaining that I am a resident at the same property along with photographic evidence of held permit. However, this appeal was rejected – no surprises! Since I considered this PCN to be issued on unfair basis, I refused to pay. Following on, I received letters from Gladstones Solicitors threatening that legal action would be taken against me if I fail to pay this ‘debt’. I explained the circumstances to Gladstones, explaining also that my tenancy agreement provides me the right to park in the property and I had no obligation to display the permit. However, they still held me liable to pay. In July 2017, a county court claim was issued which included 100£ for the PCN, 60£ for solicitor fees, 50£ for legal representative cost, and 25£ for court fees. I submitted a strong defense against this claim. My main point was that my tenancy agreement gave me the right to park and as such I had no contract with Link Parking, owing to the signage at the property (put up by Link Parking). Therefore, there was no ‘breach of contract’ which does not make me liable to pay the fine. Moreover, I argued in my defense that there is no financial loss of any kind as this was a residential property. With this point, I mainly challenged that the infamous Parkingeye vs. Beavis case is not directly applicable.
After receiving the defense, Gladstones asked for a paper hearing at their home court. However, based on my DQ, the judge accepted my request for the oral hearing and allocated it to the small claims track in Bristol County Court, to be heard on 22nd January.
Witness Statement by the Claimant
Gladstones only shared the witness statement with me five days before the hearing. This was a clear attempt to ambush me. Their main point was that the signage had primacy over the tenancy agreement. They also dug up the lease document of the property which actually showed that no space was allocated to my flat (demised premises). This was true as there was no allocated parking for my flat. It was a communal parking. Hence, the second point of their defense was that the lease has primacy over the tenancy agreement and the landlord had no right to pass on the right of parking to me as he didn’t have it. However, they didn’t bother to read the lease document carefully. Another point in their defense was the Parkingeye vs. Beavis case as they argued that this case legitimizes the issuance of the PCN.
Link Parking and Gladstones did not show up for the hearing. Instead, they hired a self-employed solicitor from Cardiff. On the day, the solicitor was approximately 15 mins late. Apparently, he had called the court and asked for additional time. Once the hearing started, the Judge (Gary Weber) asked why he was late and why he didn’t leave enough time to travel. Clearly, he wasn’t happy on wasting time of the court. The solicitor was poorly prepared for the case as well. He argued based on the points raised in the witness statement. The judge also asked the solicitor why this PCN was not waived off when I appealed explaining that I was a resident at the property. However, the solicitor had no good explanation. At my turn, I referred the judge to the relevant part of the lease document, which provided the landlord the right of way to the property and parking on first come first serve basis in the ‘space’ allocated to the property. There was no mention of the parking permit. Gladstones didn’t bother to read the full lease document and presented a half-baked legal argument in the court. At this point, the judge stated that ‘clearly the defendant had read the lease document more carefully’ causing further embarrassment to the claimant’s solicitor. The judge established that the landlord indeed had the right to pass on the right of parking in the tenancy agreement. Moreover, as part of their witness statement, the claimant had also provided a copy of their contract with the property management company. This contract started in May 2016. However, my tenancy agreement clearly stated that it started in Sept 2015. The judge also established that Link parking cannot unilaterally alter the terms of my existing contract with the landlord merely by putting up a signage at the entrance. The judge also agreed with the judgement in previous case of Pace Recovery vs. Mr. N (C6GF14F0) where it was established that a parking company cannot override the tenant’s right to park by requiring a permit. Finally, the last point of my defense was that the Beavis case is not directly relevant as there is no ‘commercial justification’ in issuing PCNs to residents. The judge also agreed with this point. Overall, based on these points, the judge dismissed the claim