Aricioglu v Kaan Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court, 16 October 2009.
The December 2009 Legal Action Housing Updates included this County Court claim for harassment and unlawful eviction.
Mr A rented a room in a shared house from Mr K for £75 per week in January 2009. He paid £150 deposit and £150 advance rent. He shortly thereafter lost his job and told Mr K that he could not pay his rent nd was not eligible for HB. Mr K gave him a week to find work, then a further week, after which he would have to get out. An LA tenancy relations officer informed Mr K by letter that he could not evict Mr A other than by due process. Mr K threatened Mr A and said he would be thrown out if he did not leave by 18 February, and kept up such threats on a daily basis, despite a visit from the tenancy relations officer. On 20 February, Mr a was forcibly evicted by Mr K and other men, including pushing and kicks, so that he fell down the stairs suffering cuts and bruises. His possessions were brought out after him.
In a recurring motif, the police were called but wouldn’t help as Mr A had no written tenancy agreement and Mr K had kept the keys.
Mr A managed to find some places to stay for the next few nights, then applied for re-admittance with a claim for unlawful eviction. After the hearing of the application and at the Court, Mr K and a friend threatened Mr A to the extent that he was too frightened to pursue the injunction. He found somewhere to stay some 4 weeks after the eviction.
Mr A pursued the claim, with other elements. At trial, damages were awarded as follows:
Return of the deposit and three times penalty under HA 2004 s.214(3) – £600
Harassment before eviction – £1,000
Trespass to person, premises and property – £1,000
23 nights at £125 per night after the eviction – £2,875
Aggravated damages (both for the manner of the eviction and the threats after the hearing aimed to stop Mr A proceeding with his claim) – £2,500
Exemplary damages, where Mr K was clearly trying to avoid proper proceedings for possession despite the tenancy relations officer’s warnings – £2,000
Giving a total of £9,975, plus interest of £332.50 for 4 months)
In addition, as there had been a part 36 offer to settle for £5,000, costs were awarded at the indemnity rate after the 21 days had expired without response.
Now, the cynical part of me says, the very best of luck with enforcing that judgment. I take it that some time will have been spent with the Land Registry…