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Salah v Munro    Willesden County Court    April 2009

Ms Salah signed an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST) for a room for a period of 6 months. The tenant applied for housing benefit which was granted, but only for part of the rent.  Mr Munro, the landlord had a ‘no housing benefit’ policy – and decided to enforce it.

He told Ms Salah to leave. Subsequently, in May 2008 Mr Munro’s brother and girlfriend visited the property and again demanded that the tenant leave and return the key. Ms Salah refused to comply and went out, taking the key with her. On her return to the property Ms Salah found that the locks had been changed and some of her property was in bags in the street and other items were missing. She spent a night in hospital following an asthma attack, then stayed with various different people until being re-admitted to the property ten days late following a court order.

Missing furniture was not replaced and Mr Munro accused Ms Salah of being a prostitute. After the 6 month term had expired, Mr Munro disconnected the gas and electricity supply to the room. Following this Ms Salah stayed at a friend’s house for a month.

Mr Munro re-connected the electricity supply once he was notified this Ms Salah had been granted funding for a committal hearing. Ms Salah only stayed occasionally at the property after this time. In January 2009 Mr Munro saw Ms Salah at the property and called the police. The police confiscated Ms Salah’s keys!

Willesden County Court awarded the following:

Unlawful eviction         –  £8600 – calculated at £200 per night for 43 nights

Aggravated damages   –  £2000

Exemplary damages     –  £2000

Special damages          –  £1000

Total                             –  £13600

The tenants rent arrears of £750 were deducted from the damages, not including the period when Ms Salah was excluded from the property. The court assessed the rent at 50% for the period without gas.