Evicted for complaining about a gas leak

26 March 2019 by

Tom did his best to cooperate with his landlord’s ‘put up and shut up’ policy. But when he complained about a leaking gas oven, he found himself locked out and homeless.

Things had never been quite right with Tom’s shared house  far from it, in fact.  

His landlord blocked off access to the boiler and would leave the thermostat on such a low setting that the heating wouldn’t come on unless it was freezing.  

He also made a daily habit of coming to the property, where he’d freewheel his car down the back alley, before creeping in through the back gate and into his tenants’ rooms when they were out.  

This kind of behaviour would be intimidating for anyone, but for Tom, who’s on medication for his anxiety and agoraphobia, it was especially difficult.  

Boiler in Tom's house
Tom couldn’t put on the heating in his own home

Forced to apologise or face eviction

Tom complained to his landlord, but he was given notice to leave. Faced with no other option, he gave his landlord an apology ‘through gritted teeth’.

After that, he tried to keep quiet.

But a year down the line, there was a gas leak in the property caused by a faulty oven. When Tom informed his landlord about this, it didn’t go well.

His landlord lost his temper, stormed out, and returned 24 hours later with a notice saying Tom had to be out by the weekend.

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Locked out for daring to complain

Then, while Tom was away for Easter, one of his housemates got in touch with him to say that their landlord had put his things in the shed and changed the locks.

That was when Tom turned to Shelter Devon, and in April 2018, we helped secure a court order permitting his return to the property.

At that point, his landlord got really aggressive. When we emailed about getting access for Tom, the only answer we got was ‘contact the Judge’.

His landlord’s correspondence also included offensive statements about Tom’s mental health.

Because of your support, we could help 

In July 2018, we went back to court with a discrimination case, and won.  

Tom was awarded several thousand pounds in compensation. That included £1,000 under the Equality Act 2010, because the landlord’s actions were clearly motivated by Tom’s mental illness. 

Your support meant that we were able to help Tom when he needed us. Thank you.  

With your help, we could reach even more vulnerable people coping with bad housing or facing homelessness.  

By donating, you’ll allow us to help more people like Tom

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