James Newman obtains a record award for unlawful eviction

James Newman has recently obtained for his clients what is thought to be one of the largest ever awards for unlawful eviction.

On 30 October 2015, the Claimants’ purchased for £190,000 the leasehold interest of a residential ground floor flat. They moved some of their possessions into the flat on 1 November 2015.

On 10 November 2015, whilst the Claimants were out of the flat, their Landlord changed the locks and attached a letter to the front door purporting to be a notice pursuant to section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (“the Notice”). The letter was addressed to the former tenant. This letter advised that the Landlord was taking peaceable re-entry on the basis that the previous tenant had built an extension without his consent and requested payment of £65,387.09 to remedy the breach.

On 11 January 2016 the Claimants obtained an injunction allowing them back into the flat. The Landlord refused to comply with the order and made various application seeking to set the injunction aside. Unfortunately, the court could not dispose of these applications until November 2016. The Claimants were entirely successful in having the applications dismissed and the injunction was restored. Yet, the Landlord only allowed the Claimants back in once a committal order had been obtained. The Claimants had been out of occupation of their property for over 1 year.

The eviction was unlawful because their Landlord had failed to comply with the provisions set out in section 168 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

The matter came for trial on 30th November 2018 for four days before His Honour Judge Freeland QC. The Claimants’ were awarded £35,000 for general damages, £5,000 for aggravated damages and £6,000 for exemplary damages. Special damages were also awarded in the sum of £14,592.96.

Mr Newman was instructed by Geoffrey Stagg of McMillan Williams

A transcript of the judgment appears here