Law Student Wins Case After Suing Landlord Using Class Textbooks

A British law student has won his first legal victory after delving into his law books to build a case against his landlord over the alleged poor state of his accommodation.

Jack Simm, 19, from Newcastle in the North East of England, told The Times it was the "best bit of revision I've ever done" after a county court told his landlord to pay the University of East Anglia student £999 ($1,323).

The amount covered his rental deposit, his first month's rent and his legal fees, according to the outlet.

Simm had previously rented a flat at Norwich's Velocity Student, managed by Estateducation, and claimed he had not been able to visit before he moved in as he came to the university through the clearing system—where students look for spare university places—last September just days before the start of the semester.

A submission to Newcastle county court, seen by The Times, said: "On arrival he [Simm] was faced with the dispiriting sight of Velocity Student being a building site…and his room being in an obviously unfinished and dysfunctional state. As we entered his room a plumber was still working in his bathroom…There was more fundamental problems that were not apparent on first look."

Simm also told the county court the landlord must have had "full knowledge that the facility was unfinished," according to the outlet.

The family claimed Estateducation told them "any outstanding works would be finished this week," but that their concerns were ignored.

Simm later told the landlord he would leave before he moved out one week after first arriving and stopped paying rent, The Times reported.

The county court was later told the landlord had asked a "debt collection agency to threaten Jack Simm with recovery action."

But Simm said the landlord had demonstrated a case of fraudulent misrepresentation under the Misrepresentation Act 1967 and delved into his law textbooks to build a legal claim to get back his £150 ($198) deposit and first month's rent worth £709 ($940).

Ben Smith, director of Freedman Project LLP, who developed the accommodation, said in a submission that Simm had not given "a reasonable period of time to respond to the repair request," which is 14 days.

The submission also claimed Simm had breached his tenancy contract and a counterclaim of £7,160 ($9,497) was made to cover the tenancy period in addition to interest, according to The Times.

But a November 2 judgment was found in Simm's favor and ruled the landlord had to pay £859 as well as the £140 in court fees.

Simm told The Times: "While the case was going on I was studying contract law so I flipped open the textbook and went over the notes. Winning shows that I can do it. It's given me a massive confidence boost."

Newsweek has contacted Velocity Student for comment.

Earlier this year, a Florida landlord courted controversy after requiring his tenants to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a move that went in defiance of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis' vaccine mandate ban. In addition, if anyone was unvaccinated when their lease came up for renewal, they would then have to move out.

landlord handing someone keys
A stock image of a landlord handing a tenant the keys. Law student Jack Simm won a case over his landlord. Getty Images