Student Simm in legal rookie court win
A 19-year-old law student has successfully sued his landlord, after claiming his student digs were like a "construction site."
In September 2020, Jack Simm was moving into the Velocity Student accommodation in Norwich, as a fresher. It was his first time visiting the flat, as he had obtained his place at UEA through clearing. The accommodation, developed by The Freedman Project LLP and managed by Estateducation, was like a "building site" when he arrived, Simm alleged.
The bedroom was "in an obviously unfinished and dysfunctional state," with a plumber "still working in his bathroom", the student claimed in his submissions to the court, according to a report in The Times.
There was no Wi-Fi, no heating, "dust everywhere" and a smell "coming out of nowhere" claimed Simm. He also said there were "loud noises from people hammering away", referring to builders rather than freshers getting acquainted with each other.
Simm said he didn't want to be "taken for a fool," and, after giving the landlord a week to recitify the issues, he moved out and stopped paying rent.
The landlord instructed a debt collection agency to recover the payments. But Simm issued a court claim to refund his deposit of £150 and first rental payment of around £700. He accused the landlord of breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.
The landlord submitted in response that Simm did not give "a reasonable period of time to respond to the repair request" and issued a counterclaim of £7,160 for the entire tenancy period, plus interest.
At a virtual hearing last month, Newcastle County court found in favour of the law student and ordered that the landlord pay Simm £859 for his rent and deposit payments, plus a court fee of £140.
Simm said that he was studying contract law during the case, so he "flipped open the textbook and went over the notes". The student also described his court victory as "the best revision" he'd ever done.
Ben Smith, director of Estateducation told RollOnFriday that the company was appealing the decision and would be raising a separate claim against Simm for allegedly "not telling the truth".
"The error we made was not having legal representation in place so we did not submit the appropriate documentation such as the 3rd party check in report showing the condition," said Smith. "We will also be submitting various witness statements from the subcontractors so Mr Simm will have some more revision to do."
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