I sued my landlord so now I’m helping hundreds of other students do the same

‘I just feel like I have a duty to help people now’

Two months ago, law student Jack Simm used his lectures and revision textbooks to sue his landlord over his “unfit” university halls – winning his first ever court case.

Now, the University of East Anglia (UEA) undergrad is helping hundreds of other students do the same.

Jack 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.

Jack said: “after all the coverage about what I did, everyone had seen it around my uni and people just started coming up to me saying ‘oh, I’ve got the same issue… would you be able to help me?'”.

“It’s still happening now”, Jack said. “People just really need help”.

The first people Jack started helping were his friends and players from his rugby team. Then came people he didn’t know. “I’ve got 99-plus requests for messages on Instagram, Facebook etc,” he said. “They come to me with problems, listing the facts and asking: ‘What can I do with it?’”.

Jack told The Tab that the issue is so widespread he couldn’t quite believe it. “Generally the situation people find themselves in is they come to uni and the accommodation is a shit-hole and is just not fit for habitation – which was obviously the same for me.

“One of my friends had mould in her room. The estate agents and landlords just told her to clean it”, he said. Luckily Jack said they had put it in writing, acknowledging there was mould in the room before she had moved in.

Jack now makes time every day to respond to messages, even going as far as visiting tenants to get a clearer idea of what can be done. Jack said: “I know I’ve got the skills and knowledge required to help these people and while it will never be the same as a qualified lawyer, it is enough to really move things forward for them.

“A common misconception is that you need a lawyer to do all of this for you – but you absolutely don’t. Anyway no student has the money to pay for legal advice and I’m not looking to make money off of it so I’ve been doing it for free”.

Talking about the issue as a whole, Jack said he feels as though everyone he knows is having issues like this. “It’s such a widespread problem and I just feel like I have a duty to help people now and let them in on the information. At the end of the day, they’re just students that need help and I will give it to them.”

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