13 Jun 23
A landlord in Dartford has batted off a huge rent repayment order (RRO) claim made by her tenants after a judge dismissed the case during a virtual Property Tribunal hearing.
Manjit Sanghera, who co-manages the family detached property on the outskirts of the Kentish town with her husband, had faced an RRO claim of £14,400 despite the tenants owing her nearly £17,000 in rent.
The tribunal’s three judges heard claims by tenants Osaretin and Oghomwen Osagiede that Sanghera and her husband had ‘harassed’ them during their tenancy, which commenced in June 2020.
The tenants said their landlord’s frequent and unannounced visits to the property were interfering in their right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property, although only two instances of unplanned door knocking were evidenced – one of which was a welcome chat and the other a visit to assess the repair of a damaged garage door.
The tribunal, after hearing detailed evidence from Sanghera and her letting agency as well as the tenants, dismissed the RRO, noting that the tenants had failed to prove their landlords’ ‘bad behaviour’.
“On the basis of the evidence before the tribunal the [tenants] have failed to satisfy it beyond reasonable doubt that the [landlord] carried out acts likely to interfere with [their] peace or comfort of the property,” the judges said.
Sanghera attempted to remove the tenants including issuing them a Section 21 notice of eviction in June 2021, which they contested over the serving of a How To Rent Guide and Gas Safety Certificate, and a Section 8 has now been issued after the rent arrears built up.
The judges sided with the Osgiedes on one point – that their boiler had not worked properly for many months despite requests to fix it and that on several occasions they were without hot water for themselves and their son.
But the tenants have not paid any rent since January 2022 and Sangera highlighted how she had been forced to use her savings to pay her own bills after the Osagiedes stopped paying rent, which was one of her major sources of income after her husband retired.
The tenants have until next week to appeal the decision.
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