19-Year-Old First Year Law Student Sues Landlord And Wins First Case | TOTUM
Ben Hayward December 15th
2021

A first year university student has successfully sued his landlord over the sorry state of his accommodation.

When 19-year-old Jack Simm arrived at his university accommodation he says he found what can only be described as a ‘building site’, reports the BBC

Having earned a place to study law at the University of East Anglia through the clearing process, Jack arrived at the Velocity Student accommodation in Norwich having only had the opportunity to view it in photographs online.

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“I thought I was going to get what I'd seen on these photos," he says. “These nice, upmarket student accommodation rooms.”

However, when he arrived, that certainly wasn’t the case. “It was a building site,” he says of the property which was developed by The Freedman Project LLP and managed by Estateducation.

"There were skips everywhere, tradesmen everywhere, hammering the ceiling, hammering the walls. The place was covered in dust from sanding.

"It was almost ironic and funny that people were moving into this place because it looked awful. It was just a bit of a dire state really.”

After just a week, Jack decided he had had enough, moved out and stopped paying his rent. 

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It wasn’t long before he was threatened with recovery action by a debt collector, but instead of caving to the demand, the aspiring lawyer instead turned to his textbooks and started building his case in order to take his landlord to court.

He went about collecting witness statements, put together the case and statute law surrounding contract representation, and successfully sued the landlord for breach of contract and misrepresentation.

“It was quite easy to be honest,” says Jack, who is originally from Newcastle. “I studied contract law at the time. To me it was quite an easy case of opening my contract law textbook, looking through some of the relevant law and applying it to the situation.

“We sued for our money back, our deposit and our first month's rent. They sued for the entire tenancy agreement - around £7,000.”

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At an online hearing at Newcastle County Court on November 2nd, Jack’s dad spoke for him in court. With the case being found in his favour, he won what he had paid them plus court fees, totalling £999, while the counterclaim was dismissed.

Jack said it felt great to win and that the experience ‘really just instilled in me that young people need to back themselves’.

“You just can't let these landlords win,” he added. “[You've] got to take them to court if this happens. Change will happen. The culture needs to change.”

Estateducation declined to comment when approached by the BBC.

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