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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71041
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My wife and I have been served a Section 8 eviction notice

Customer Question

My wife and I have been served a Section 8 eviction notice for the property we are letting. Our landlord has served the notice based on false information supplied by our neighbour. The lettings agent managing the property has verified that the information is false yet the landlord has continued with the notice. Are we able to sue the landlord and/or the neighbour for defamation of character?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What is the nature of the allegation?
Do you have the funds to bring a defamation action?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo

The allegation is that we have been leaving excessive amounts of dog excrement and rotting corpses in the garden (yes you did read this right) and rubbish all over the front driveway. We have a young family and such allegations are ludicrous due to the health risks alone but given that my wife and I are a professional couple (I earn £120k pa) so are by no means the "scum of the earth" that we are being portrayed. Furthermore, my wife studied medical microbiology at University so is all too aware of the potential consequences of such behaviours.

We have been subjected to numerous doorstep visits by the letting agent as a result of these allegations and to be honest our lives have been made a living hell. At no stage has the agent ever found anything to warrant the notice being served (because it is a complete pack of lies and there has never been anything to find). We have challenged the landlord directly and his response is that he has known these people far longer than us so has no reason to disbelieve them!

We have elected to leave the property as the situation has become so intolerable but this will result in us incurring a number of additional costs let alone the hassle of finding another house to live in - we currently do not have a place fixed up and will be moving in to a hotel or similar at the end of the month.

What sort of costs would be involved in a defamation action? My wife and I are deeply hurt by the allegations and the security of our whole family has been compromised by these lies.

Any assistance would be appreciated as we are adamant that we will take this further.

Kind Regards


Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Rutting human corpses?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry animal

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Are you prepared to fund a defamation action?
It would cost in excess of £10k and probably nearly £30k.
Can the accuser pay the award?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We are prepared to fund it.

What level of award are we likely to get? Do you believe we would have a case?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, it depends.
In legal theory you probably do arguably. These are statements that are unpleasant but whether they really get over the hurdle of defamation is another matter. Remember it has to cause 'serious damage' to your reputation. A good example would be something like an allegation of sexual misconduct from which a person cannot really recover even if investigated and found to be without basis. To be wholly honest, if the allegation is essentially that you do not maintain your garden in a tidy fashion then I wouldn't even think of spending £10k upon it.
You can always get a solicitor to write to him if it is just that you want to put on record that this is not true. That would probably cost £100 plus VAT or thereabouts.
The landlord is not worth pursuing. He will defend on the basis of public interest and he will win. Also, you can just defend the S8 in court much more cheaply.
The other problem is that you would almost certainly never recover even if you won.
A much better option is harassment but it requires more than one allegation.
Can I clarify anything for you?