An estate agency in Bath faces a potential £1.4 million compensation bill after losing an appeal against damages sought by a tenant who claimed a representative of the company harassed her.
In 2010 former City worker Wemimo Taiwo and her husband Ayobamidele fell behind with their rent at an address in the city while Mrs Taiwo was on maternity leave and her husband, who is an academic at the University of Bath, was ill.
A representative of Homelets of Bath, Caroline Arundell, then attempted to evict the couple from the flat within a period house in the city and, the judge agreed during an appeal hearing earlier this week, was ‘rude, condescending and insulting’ to Mrs Taiwo.
During her efforts to remove the couple over a six-day period, Mrs Arundell is said to have entered the property unannounced, changed the locks while Mrs Taiwo was still in the flat and used physical force to move the seven-month pregnant woman to another room.
Mrs Taiwo claims that the letting agent’s behaviour led her to suffer a mental breakdown and a period of treatment at The Priory clinic, telling the court that she now suffers a “recurrent depressive disorder and reaction to severe stress”.
In April a judge at Bristol country court ruled that Mrs Wemimo was entitled to damages but this was appealed. This appeal has now been rejected during a High Court hearing, the Evening Standard reports.
A case will now be heard to determine compensation. Caroline Arundell, who used to be Managing Director of Homelets Bristol, died in 2014.