A Nottingham landlord has been ordered to repay nearly £3000 of rent after a tribunal ruled their “abusive and coercive” behaviour had created such an “intimidating atmosphere” tenants felt unable to use the bathroom.
A judge-led residential property tribunal has ruled that there was “no reasonable excuse” for the behaviour of the landlord of a property in the Sneiton area and ruled the tenants should be repaid £2817.40 of rent.
The tenants, students at Nottingham Trent University, made allegations of landlords or their representatives “persistently attending the property without good cause, sometimes at unusual times late at night or early morning. The visits were unconnected with attention to maintenance or repairs… causing (the claimant) and other occupants’ anxiety”.
On occasion the claimant stated the landlord “entered his room” to demand he vacated the property and when ordered to leave “banged the door closed on (the claimant’s) hand causing injury… As he left the room and the property the Respondent made several racist abusive remarks”
In a further incident it was alleged that two men let themselves into the property and “demanded the Applicant leave the property within 24 hours. They became aggressive when (the tenant) explained their right to remain under their tenancy agreement. (The tenant) felt the need to call the police whereupon the two men left the premises. On the following day, the landlord brought them to the property again. They remained in the living room throughout the day until midnight creating an intimidating atmosphere such that the Applicants felt unable to use the room nor the kitchen and bathroom alone.”
When a tenant returned from work that evening they allege that one of the men “assaulted him in the living room” and chased him to his room where he “used force to break the door and threw objects into the room… The police were called again”.
A tenant also described seeing the landlord tampering with the heating boiler leading to the property not having heating or hot water
A visit from the Nottingham City Council’s Environmental Health team identified one Category 1 Hazard and five Category 2 Hazards – with Category 1 hazards those which could lead to the most serious harm, including death, paralysis and permanent loss of consciousness, with officers highlighting excess cold, fire and electrical hazards and potential entry by intruders.
Passing a rent repayment order, the judge-led panel concluded:
“The Tribunal is satisfied the Respondent was guilty of behaviour calculated to cause the Applicants to leave the property contrary to the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 throughout the period of occupation.
“At the inspection the Tribunal noted there was no fire safety equipment installed. There was no notice board giving the landlords name address and contact details. The Tribunal was shown evidence of overcrowding identified by the local housing authority. The Tribunal is satisfied that in addition to the coercive and abusive behaviour the Respondent had not complied with duties of landlord under the Licensing and Management of HMO (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007.”
Tenant’s rights campaigner Ajay Jagota of online claims firm Veriwise responded to the case:
Veriwise takes on housing disrepair claims for tenants who lack the resources to pursue them themselves, and has recently launched Very Wise Renter which checks the safety of rented properties further empowering renters.
“There are strict and clear rules landlords must follow when ending a tenancy, but like so many of their legal obligations – not least those relating to fire and electrical safety – far too many landlords think that they do not apply to them.
“Your landlord cannot treat you like this – and if they do you could be entitled to compensation or rent repayment. If you lack the financial or legal resources to defend your rights as a renter, organisations like Very Wise are on hand to fight your corner”.
Veriwise takes on housing disrepair claims, deposit disputes and illegal eviction claims on behalf of renters, negotiating with councils or private landlords to fix the issues quickly and claim compensation for renters from landlords and agents. In cases where the landlord or agent does not comply, Veriwise can now present the case to legal counsel who can take the case to court to ensure the landlord complies and pays any compensation.
The organisation this year launched Very Wise Student and this week announced Very Wise Renter a partnership with insurer ARAG aimed at empowering renters by offering free access to:
- LEGAL HELPLINE available 24/7 access to a qualified SOLICITOR
- TAX HELPLINE
- WELL-BEING HELPLINE 24/7 access to a qualified COUNSELLOR
All legal calls are handled by qualified solicitors with at least 5 years of post-qualification experience, whilst the free and confidential counselling helpline offers support with mental health issues, personal problems or any money worries renters may have.