Monthly Archives: May 2018

Evicting your tenant? Do so with caution

In the case of Smith v Khan it was held that Mrs Smith had a right to occupy a property by being lawfully married to the tenant, Mr Smith, and that she had been unlawfully evicted when Mr Khan, the landlord, re-entered and changed the locks to the property, preventing her from gaining further access. When determining the level of damages Mrs Smith should be awarded for trespass, the Court said that damages for trespass must compensate the tenant for the letting value of the property for which they have been deprived but also for the anxiety, inconvenience and mental stress involved in the loss of the tenant’s home. Reviewing similar cases (and also noting that Mrs Smith was forced to sleep on a friend’s floor for a number of months following her eviction), it determined that an appropriate daily rate for damages was £130 and that damages should be calculated from the date of the unlawful eviction until the expiry date of the fixed term as, on the facts of the case, the tenant would have been entitled to continue in occupation up until that date. Mrs Smith was awarded total damages of approximately £14,000.This case is a reminder that residential property owners should be extremely careful when taking steps to evict their tenants or any other occupier who might be entitled to possession and to seek legal advice prior to doing so. Failing to follow the correct procedure could result in very serious consequences, including a claim for a rather hefty sum of damages!

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The assault on secrecy/privacy marches on

Rebel Conservative MPs have joined with the opposition to force the Government to impose beneficial ownership registers on the BVI, Cayman and Bermuda and other British Overseas Territories. This resurrects an initiative of David Cameron which Theresa May had put on the back-burner, but this U-turn by May demonstrates that the Government needs to save all its political capital for Brexit and is prey to random attacks on other issues. This is arguably bad law by a weak government, a constitutionally uncomfortable interference in the government of the BOTs, but the development is already being lauded by anti-corruption and some anti-poverty campaigners and those who take the other view, in defence of privacy, should take a moment to consider that this only extends offshore what now exists onshore in the EU and focus instead on how legitimate privacy and security can be protected within a world where the tide of transparency is unstoppable (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man will be next).

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