There are many times when we can feel threatened or challenged by others. We can either accept injustice or we can stand up for ourselves and fight for our rights. I did just that today after a year long battle with my ex-landlord. He behaved incredibly unreasonably and often disrupted my privacy, ignored my rights with regards to staying at the property and ultimately engaged in an act known as “retaliatory eviction” which is illegal in many countries. This is when a landlord evicts a tenant without reason. My ex-landlord gave me notice two weeks before Christmas in 2012 and immediately set about finding a new tenant. Unfortunately, retaliatory eviction is not illegal (yet) in the United Kingdom.
We had our day in court today and the judge sympathised with me on all levels. The only bathroom had been renovated and this had left me for five days without a shower or bath. The landlord suggested I use the neighbour’s bathroom facilities..seriously?! There was no privacy, dust everywhere and equipment housed in the house where there was little space to begin with. The renovation dragged on for six weeks.
I had also lived in damp conditions that were not adequately dealt with and my son and I both suffered from health issues whilst living there.
The last issue was the delivery of a dryer and dishwasher that was promised within three months but only materialised after eighteen months.
There were many times when I felt it was no use to pursue my claim. The estate agent did not want to get involved, the plumber would not get involved. The company managing the inventory seemed to side with the landlord and I ended up feeling very isolated.
Thankfully, there is a wonderful charity here in the UK called Shelter and they supported me throughout and even attended court with me today.
Today I was awarded compensation for the way I was treated. The irony is that I asked the landlord for a reduction in my rent for the month when the renovation was underway and he refused (and then evicted me).
If he had agreed, he would have paid less than a quarter of what he was ordered to pay today. I am sure that he will now think twice before dismissing others and ignoring their rights in the future. That’s the real victory here.
So, if you are in a similar situation, believe in yourself and stand up to others who don’t treat you right. I was intimidated by my landlord when I rented a house from him but when I saw him today in court, he seemed a puny little man and he made a terrible impression upon the judge. It just goes to show that others may seem stronger and more authoritative than they really are.
Stick up for what you believe in, pick your battles carefully and show the world you’re not to be messed with!