Family who sued landlord ordered to pay

Zena Smith with son Kade, 14, and husband Derek.

Zena Smith with son Kade, 14, and husband Derek.

First published in News
Last updated

A FAMILY have been left “gobsmacked” after they tried to sue their former landlord but ended up paying her £3,500.

Zena and Derek Smith sued ex-landlord Choy Wong after they incurred huge heating bills because their privately rented home did not have sufficient heating.

But a judge found in the Basildon landlord's favour because the family could have left the sub-standard property at any time in order to save money.

Mr Smith, 50, said: “I am gobsmacked by what has happened.

“We have been told that we should have left the place, walked out and lost our deposit.

“We’re being penalised for trying to help ourselves as much as we can.

“Why would we do that? If we made ourselves homeless, we wouldn’t be entitled to any help.

“And to be frank, we couldn’t move out because we couldn’t afford to get another deposit together.”

Mr and Mrs Smith lived in the house, in Queensland Drive, Colchester, with son Kade, 14, between April 2010 and April 2013.

But District Judge Simon Mitchell said: “The contractual liability of the landlord only lasted until April 25, 2011.

“From that day, you were no longer obliged to be there - you did not have to give any notice to leave."

Mr Mitchell ordered a £900 deposit be returned to Mrs Wong and said Mr and Mrs Smith must pay £2,590 in unpaid rent.

The family, who now live in Greenstead, had hoped to claim £1,799.84, which they spent on heating the home using one electric fran heater during their time in the home.

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Comments (8)

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12:59pm Thu 6 Mar 14

WitchofColchester says...

If you are unhappy living in your rented property and are no longer contractually tied to your landlord, get the hell out!
If you are unhappy living in your rented property and are no longer contractually tied to your landlord, get the hell out! WitchofColchester
  • Score: 10

1:15pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Scoot says...

Didn't they look at the heating before they moved in ? Surely they would have seen whether it had sufficient or insufficient heating then . They then don't pay rent and expect the landlord to cough up for what appears to be a fan heater on 24/7. Were they having a laugh ? Didn't they think of going to the CAB first to discuss their rights and what planet was their solicitor on letting this come to court or did he/she just see the legal aid (tax payers) pounds in his/her eyes.
Didn't they look at the heating before they moved in ? Surely they would have seen whether it had sufficient or insufficient heating then . They then don't pay rent and expect the landlord to cough up for what appears to be a fan heater on 24/7. Were they having a laugh ? Didn't they think of going to the CAB first to discuss their rights and what planet was their solicitor on letting this come to court or did he/she just see the legal aid (tax payers) pounds in his/her eyes. Scoot
  • Score: 16

3:42pm Thu 6 Mar 14

keith_l says...

If they had left the property and had not caused any damage to it, they would have got their deposit back. The fact that the judge ordered them to pay the deposit to the landlady suggests that the deposit has, in fact, been returned to them, but they had caused damage in excess of this amount. The fact that they have to pay £2500 in rent arrears is unrelated to the heating issue.

Landlords frequently remove any gas heating and replace it with electric heating due to the health risks of gas boilers if not properly maintained, or even if they go faulty or the tenant interferes with the boiler or ventilation, the landlord is liable.
If they had left the property and had not caused any damage to it, they would have got their deposit back. The fact that the judge ordered them to pay the deposit to the landlady suggests that the deposit has, in fact, been returned to them, but they had caused damage in excess of this amount. The fact that they have to pay £2500 in rent arrears is unrelated to the heating issue. Landlords frequently remove any gas heating and replace it with electric heating due to the health risks of gas boilers if not properly maintained, or even if they go faulty or the tenant interferes with the boiler or ventilation, the landlord is liable. keith_l
  • Score: 1

4:08pm Thu 6 Mar 14

stevedawson says...

How you say you cold use fran heater then.
How you say you cold use fran heater then. stevedawson
  • Score: -4

9:36am Fri 7 Mar 14

Catchedicam says...

Muppets!
Muppets! Catchedicam
  • Score: 0

10:05am Fri 7 Mar 14

catflap1 says...

put a jumper on
put a jumper on catflap1
  • Score: 2

2:41pm Fri 7 Mar 14

HARRY438 says...

Could also get fined for that photo.
Could also get fined for that photo. HARRY438
  • Score: 0

5:26pm Fri 7 Mar 14

G.Speel says...

Nice try 'Smith' family! Justice has been done.
Nice try 'Smith' family! Justice has been done. G.Speel
  • Score: 3

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