Five students have won a court case against their landlord, after he tried to claim a year’s worth of rent from them.
The second year students won their own claim as well as their legal fees – a sum in excess of £8,000 – when they counter-sued Sukhvir Thethi after initially believing that he had chosen not to pursue the matter against them further.
In August 2012, Mr Thethi, a partner at Avtar Properties, issued a claim against his tenants in a small claim court for one year’s rent.
The students took advice and responded by counter-suing Mr Thethi for the return of their deposits and the three months’ rent already paid.
Thethi failed to progress the legal process, and so the students were able to secure a judgment against Thethi.
The students left the property soon after moving in, as they felt it to be uninhabitable. Terry Pomroy, father of one of the students, told this paper: “one of the students suffered an electric shock off the cooker, there were mice droppings everywhere and we called in Rentokil to determine all the pest issues which included an infestation of bed bugs.”
Speaking to Leeds Student, Thethi, who is a partner at Avtar Properties, disputed that there were pests, claiming “A pest control company was sent out… there was no evidence of any pest issues.”
In a written statement, the students’ solicitors, Clarion, said: “While the landlord claimed that the property was fit for purpose, we were able to prove that it was not.”
Mr. Pomroy added: “The students could not live there. Avtar avoided our phone calls and assisted in only a perfunctory manner. The landlord Mr. Thethi made one of the group cry just because she dared to complain about the unacceptable mess of the house.”
One tenant told Leeds Student “we trusted the landlord to treat us better as tenants and felt really taken advantage of.”
Mr. Pomroy told Leeds Student; ‘we hope that our success in this case will help empower other students to not sit idly-by and accept unacceptable behaviour by landlords’.
Image: Leo Garbutt