This law student used his degree to sue his landlord – and WON

Maybe law is useful after all?

A 19-year-old law student used his lectures and revision textbooks to sue his landlord over his “unfit” university halls – winning his first ever court case.

Jack Simm sued his landlord for an alleged breach of contract over his flat being “like a construction site” when he first moved in September 2020. “It was honestly just grim”, he told The Tab.

The undergrad student, who was then a fresher and is now in his second year at the University of East Anglia (UEA), spent a year fighting the case. He said winning the case at a civil court last month was “perfect revision” for his law degree.

Before his one-hour hearing, Jack referred to statutes and case law that he had learnt in his studies to build a 10-page legal claim for a refund on his deposit and first month’s rent – amounting to £859.

Jack then successfully sued the company behind Velocity Student accommodation for breach of contract.

“At the time when it was all going on I was actually studying contract law as well”, Jack said. “So I literally just jumped to my contract law textbook and looked at all the pages to find all the relevant stuff to build my case. It was pretty simple actually.

“I was in a real situation with real consequences. I was thrown into the deep end. Winning shows that I can do it and it’s given me a huge confidence boost.”

Jack first decided to sue his landlord shortly after he moved down from Newcastle to his university accommodation in Norwich. He argued that his landlord was in breach of contract because the halls were not fit to be lived in.

“Not being funny but it was literally like a building site”, Jack told The Tab. “Skips everywhere,  saw dust everywhere, sounded like a construction site as well – hammering and drilling which were proper loud. The building just wasn’t clean and there was really thick plaster dust all over the floor and muddy boot marks everywhere.”

Jack said that when he first moved in, the landlord was “bizarrely” so happy – “cracking on as if it was a 5 star hotel”. However, with a wire sticking out the wall, dirty floors, dust everywhere, no hot water or heating and no wifi – not to mentioned a large hole ripped into the ceiling – Jack knew he couldn’t stay there.

Although the landlord said the issues would be handled within a couple of days, after a week Jack decided to move out and stop paying his rent. He said: “they sent me an email from a debt collector just saying they would be taking the money. So basically there was no other choice but to go to court and sue.”

On November 2, Newcastle County Court ruled in Jack’s favour and ordered that he be paid £859 to cover his deposit and first month’s rent.

The court also ordered the landlords to pay £140 in court fees.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Four in five students have lived in accommodation that’s ‘unfit for habitation’

Student accommodation prices have overtaken the cost of a maintenance loan

These are the top 10 unis with the worst accommodation, according to students