fbpx

Is Your Landlord Harassing You? You Don't Have to Just Grin and Bear It

1st August 2023 By

Tenants have a right peacefully to enjoy their homes, free from harassment by their landlords. A judge succinctly made that point in awarding substantial compensation to a couple whose landlord was anxious to see the back of them so he could refurbish and sell their home with vacant possession.

The couple were tenants of a studio flat within a house in multiple occupation. Their landlord wished to convert the property back into a single dwelling and market it without any residents in situ. All the property’s other occupants had moved on, but the couple for a long time steadfastly declined to leave. Following their eventual departure, they launched proceedings.

Ruling on the matter, the judge found that the landlord was prepared to use whatever means were at his disposal to secure their departure. He conducted a campaign to make their lives uncomfortable enough to drive them from their flat. Amongst other things, he cut off their internet service, switched off their gas boiler and installed CCTV in the property for no good reason. He made vile and malicious allegations against them and regularly reported them to the police, who unsurprisingly took no action.

He and others made frequent, unnecessary visits to the flat, gaining unwarranted entry, often without notice. There was no desistence from such conduct, even after he was told that the couple were expecting their first child. When they still did not move out, he took matters into his own hands and decided to eject them himself.

He or his agents changed the locks whilst the couple were out and dumped some of their belongings outside. Having nowhere else to go, they regained access and tried to continue living in the flat, placing cardboard on the floor in lieu of a bed. Only after they were offered temporary council accommodation did they finally move out.

The court found that the landlord’s reprehensible conduct was designed to oust the couple by unlawful means by doing whatever was necessary, however improper, to secure that end. It constituted harassment and trespass to both property and goods. He repudiated the lease and breached the couple’s right to quiet enjoyment of their home. He delayed performance of his legal obligation to protect their deposit.

The landlord was ordered to pay the couple more than £45,000, including £25,000 for the anxiety they endured and £10,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages. Such an award was, the court found, amply justified.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Award That Requires Borrowing Made Into Court Order

17th May, 2024 By

Disagreements between separating couples all too often result in litigation that substantially reduces the assets available to them, as was illustrated by a case that recently reached the High Court. At issue was whether awards made by arbitrators in financial remedy proceedings can be made into court orders even if that would require one of the parties to borrow money. The couple had previously had a relationship lasting a few years before resuming their relationship in 2015. They had two children before separating again in 2019. Following their separation, the...

Inheritance Disputes – Costs Risks Can Be Reduced

15th May, 2024 By

Arguments about what someone promised before their death can lead to significant legal costs. However, if faced with a claim against the estate, there may be steps the beneficiaries or executors can take to reduce the risks, as a recent High Court case illustrated. A man had left a farmhouse and agricultural land in Cornwall to his wife, with whom he had also jointly owned a neighbouring area of land. After his death, one of the couple's daughters and her husband claimed that he had told them he wanted them...

Share Rounding Error Does Not Prevent CGT Relief

13th May, 2024 By

There are often very specific rules that must be complied with in order to claim tax reliefs, but if a small mistake arises, the courts may be able to provide assistance. In a recent case, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that an investor was entitled to Entrepreneurs' Relief on the disposal of his shares in a company, despite owning one share fewer than he needed to qualify for it. The investor had agreed to purchase 5 per cent of the shares in the company for £500,000. He wished to own...

Wife Entitled to Maintenance Until Sale of Family Home

10th May, 2024 By

When divorcing couples disagree on how assets should be divided, the courts will seek to arrive at a fair outcome for both parties. In deciding how the proceeds of sale of a former couple's home should be apportioned, the Family Court agreed with the wife that she should receive maintenance payments until the sale took place. The couple had married in 2006. Following a brief separation, they had reconciled for two years before finally separating in 2022. The husband and wife both contended that they should be entitled to about...