Fri, 01 Oct 21
A landlord has been ordered to pay £2,400 to his former tenants after a tribunal appeal following the issuing of a Wrongful Termination Order.
The WTO - a Scottish legal provision - came about when a landlord in Glasgow provided a tenant with a Notice To Leave, stating the landlord and family wanted to move into and occupy the rental accommodation as their main home. However the property was then re-let to another tenant, prompting a court to issue the order.
Tenants Lesley Munro and Grant McNicoll argued that they would not have left the property had they not been given notice to leave by their landlord, David Ross.
They argued that the reason their landlord had given them for giving notice to leave was erroneous given his conduct after they left the property.
The First Tier Tribunal which made the award heard that the tenants paid £800 a month until the landlord served a notice to leave in December last year. It was thought that the reason was that the landlord himself was to live in the property. The tenants then served their own notice to terminate the lease as they had found alternative accommodation.
The tenancy subsequently came to an end on 13 January 2021, at which time the respondent moved into the property.
But in early February - 19 days after taking possession - the property was put on the sales market, with an offer accepted the following month.
In its decision the Tribunal says: “In just 19 days, the respondent’s position changed from recovering possession of the property so that he could use it as his own home, to selling the property on the open market.
“That is such a significant change in intention that it is realistic to expect the respondent to be able to explain what happened in two and a half weeks to create such a radical change in his intentions.”
It continues: “What we are left with is an unexplained change in the respondent’s position. All parties agree that the respondent sought to terminate the tenancy agreement on the basis that he intended to live in the property. If the applicants had done nothing in response to the notice to leave, the respondent could have raised an application for repossession with this chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland. In any such application, the tribunal would look for evidence that the respondent intends to live in the property for at least three months.”
The Tribunal went on to say: “The only realistic conclusion that we can reach is that the respondent misled the applicants, and, as a result of his misrepresentation, the applicants surrendered occupation of the property.
“In assessing the quantum of the wrongful termination order we take into account of the impact of the respondent’s actions, the duration of the dishonesty, [and] the respondent’s continued adherence to that dishonesty. Against those aggravating factors, we balance the fact that the respondent has some health problems and his financial situation has been better.”
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