Rogue landlord ordered to pay tenant over £20,000 in compensation13 Aug 2019
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A team of our housing solicitors were successful in a longstanding claim against a rogue landlord concerning a conduct of harassment, non-protection of tenancy deposit and reimbursement of electricity costs. His Honour Judge Luba QC ordered the landlord to pay the tenant damages totalling £20,076 and also his legal costs on the standard basis up to 24th March 2017 and on an indemnity basis thereafter.
Our tenant’s situation
By way of a background summary, in May 2015 BA let his ground floor flat to ZN at a rent of £1,000 per month. The rent was payable in advance. BA also asked ZN to pay a tenancy deposit in the sum of a further £1,000. BA gave ZN a written receipt for the total sum of £2,000 representing the rent in advance and the deposit. However, BA failed to safeguard ZN’s deposit in a registered scheme.
ZN moved into the flat with his wife and two young children. The landlord, BA, occupied the flat above with the flats sharing an electricity meter. It was agreed that the costs of electricity would be shared. It was agreed that ZN would credit the pre-payment card and that BA would reimburse him for 50% of the costs. BA failed to reimburse ZN for his share of the electricity costs.
On at least three occasions BA took action to interrupt heating and hot water in ZN’s flat. The first act was sealing off the boiler in October 2015. The second act was again interrupting the heating and hot water supply in November 2015. The third relates to 6th December 2015 when BA came into ZN’s flat, did something to the boiler, and the heating and hot water was then not available. On the first two occasions heating and hot water was not restored until after the intervention of the local authority. On the third occasion, heating and hot water remained off and was not restored until June 2016 when the boiler was replaced.
Osbornes initiated proceedings in June 2016 and the case originally came on for trial August 2017. Judgement was reserved by the District Judge who conducted that trial. However, the Judge was later unable to deliver his reserved judgement. Osbornes therefore applied for further directions and a re-trial. The matter ultimately came before HHJ Luba QC who took responsibility for hearing the matter.
After hearing evidence over the course of three days, HHJ Luba gave judgement awarding ZN £3,000 in respect of the deposit protection claim (return of the £1,000 deposit and £2,000 penalty), £6,426 in respect of special damages and general damages of £10,650. Total damages awarded £20,076. HHJ Luba QC also ordered BA to pay ZN’s legal costs on the standard basis up to 24th March 2017 and on an indemnity basis thereafter (ZN beat his own Part 36 offer). BA was further ordered to pay the sum of £30,000 on account of ZN’s legal costs.
Counsel Dominic Preston of Doughty Street Chambers represented ZN at trial.
To speak with Edward Taylor or another member of our housing law team contact us by calling on 0207 485 8811 or fill in an online enquiry form.