Law student successfully sues landlord over university accommodation

Nineteen-year-old wins case against landlord for breach of contract

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 15 December 2021 14:38
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<p>Jack Simm successfully sued his landlord</p>

Jack Simm successfully sued his landlord

A law student has successfully sued his landlord over university accommodation that he said was “like a construction site” and “covered in dust”.

Jack Simm, a 19-year-old studying at the University of East Anglia, turned to his course textbooks as he took the company behind Velocity Accommodation in Norwich to court.

He sued for breach of contract and won back his deposit and first month’s rent, as well as court costs.

Professor Andreas Stephan, the head of the University of East Anglia’s law school, told The Independent the 19-year-old showed “great initiative”.

Earlier this year, a poll suggested most students had lived somewhere that could be considered “unfit for habitation” - including over reasons such as broken doors and alarms, mould and damp.

Mr Simm said his accommodation - which he was not able to see before moving in last year as he got his place last minute through clearing - had no wifi or heating.

“It looked more like a construction site than a place to live,” he said. “In my room the floor was covered in dust and there were loud noises from people hammering away.”

The 19-year-old, from Newcastle, added: “We gave the landlord a week to sort everything out and at the end nothing had been resolved so I moved out and handed my keys in.”

He turned to his studies to build a case.

“It was quite easy to be honest,” he told the BBC. “I studied contract law at the time. To me it was quite an easy case of opening my contract law textbook and looking through some of the relevant law and applied it to the situation.”

On 2 November, Newcastle County Court ruled the landlords should pay Jack £859 to cover his deposit and first month’s rent, as well as £140 in court fees.

Professor Stephan from the University of East Anglia told The Independent: “Jack showed great initiative and his actions are a reminder of how the law is there to correct wrongs and should be accessible to all.

“As a Law School we encourage our students to make a difference and a number have used their knowledge and skills from class to challenge unscrupulous landlords.”

Estateducation - who manages the Velocity Student block - has been approached for comment.

Additional reporting by agencies

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