Tables turned on Acorn

Tables turned on Acorn

15:10 PM, 6th April 2022, About 2 months ago 13

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Sheffield landlord, Mrs Zobia Rafique, has settled her legal case for harassment, defamation and breach of data rights against pressure group The Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now (ACORN).

What was initially a low-level disagreement with a tenant, Ms Aya Hoez, over the return of a £300 deposit, turned into a campaign of harassment by ACORN against Mrs Rafique after the tenant, an ACORN member, got the pressure group involved.

The campaign against Mrs Rafique by ACORN members included marching, filming, and engaging in confrontation with Mrs Rafique at her home, holding placards bearing defamatory statements, blogging and posting abusive statements on social media, threatening Mrs Rafique using a loud hailer, approaching and abusing Mrs Rafique, and holding a “public meeting” about Mrs Rafique outside Sheffield Town Hall.

Mrs Rafique and her business Century One Estates were forced to issue legal proceedings against ACORN and Ms Hoez.  Mrs Rafique and Century One Estates settled their claim against ACORN.  Mrs Rafique was forced to obtain an injunction and other orders against Ms Hoez.

As part of the settlement, Acorn has paid a substantial amount in costs and damages to Mrs Rafique and Century One Estates, in addition to issuing two written apologies and providing an agreement to never repeat the conduct again.

Century One Estates in Sheffield is a local business that has served the Sheffield community for 12 years and specialises in renting rooms across the city.

Mrs Zobia Rafique said: The last two years have been unbearable and frightening. I’m relieved and pleased the case has been resolved in my favour and now the harassment will stop. I also wanted to prevent this from happening to other business owners.”

A spokesman for JMW Solicitors, said: “We are delighted to have successfully acted for Mrs Rafique in this case and to have brought it to a close in her favour and century One’s favour. Unfortunately, despite being in the wrong in their allegations against Mrs Rafique, the tenant and Acorn embarked upon a campaign of harassment against her. Clearly, there is a place for legal and legitimate campaigning, but the tenant’s and Acorn’s conduct seriously crossed the line.”

Local Sheffield media are reporting that Acorn was ordered to pay just under £100,000.



Comments

by Patrice

12:06 PM, 7th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Good outcome!

by Luke P

12:35 PM, 7th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Deliciously exquisite.

by Chris @ Possession Friend

18:03 PM, 7th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Would be interested to know where Acorn’s finances came from to settle this. ( as local groups don’t have that sum )
I also notice that some of the ‘ Tenant-supporters ‘. who post on this site have gone silent. !

by DSR

7:58 AM, 8th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris @ Possession Friend at 07/04/2022 - 18:03
interesting point. Wonder if the NRLA would financially back a member landlord in the same situation?
At least membership money would by used to defend a blatant abuse against a LL (and the PRS as a whole), rather than what seems to always be token effort to 'put forward LL concerns' (which has the effect of actually doing nothing

by Luke P

8:58 AM, 8th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 08/04/2022 - 07:58
Nope. They've been asked before and basically it's a case of if we help one, we'll be inundated with help requests from every man and his dog.

by DSR

10:22 AM, 8th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 08/04/2022 - 08:58
total lack of insight and long term view for an organisation that can see things are only getting worse by the day for industry they represent.

By taking one case on, will mean that there is 1.
less chance of another LL having to go through the same, as it sets case law. 2. gives actual validity to a claim where there is clear prejudice/discrimination/bias against a LL which a single LL could not fight financially.

It it shows the NRLA actually have teeth to fight properly for LL's now just cow-tow to whims of the government and cries from other bodies like Shelter while actually 'sticking up' for LL's

by Luke P

11:38 AM, 8th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 08/04/2022 - 10:22
When will people understand they are a Govt. stooge…a plant. Ben Beadle is frightened witless about being sidelined from meetings if he doesn’t play their game, their way, so is very meek and mild in his approach.

by Freda Blogs

12:50 PM, 8th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Years ago, I believe the then SPLA (Southern Private Landlords Assoc., which got taken over by NLA and subsequently RLA to become NRLA) had a fighting fund to defend LLs in particular cases which were considered to have significant impact in the PRS.
I wonder what happened to the money during the takeover(s)?
I agree NRLA should be supporting LLs by helping to fight egregious tenant claims or even fighting (the constant) unfair legislation. It would help to give LLs and the wider community and government the knowledge that we are a force to be reckoned with.

As it is, being a landlord can be a lonely place and when tenants are being difficult, even when right is on your side, the time, stress and cost of dealing with it is all-consuming and energy draining. No wonder LLs are selling up.

by Mick Roberts

9:34 AM, 9th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Generation rent etc. make it better for that current tenant they are helping, but then make it much worse for the next thousands of tenants. As landlords think Screw this, I've had enough, I'm selling or being super selective.

by David Price

12:07 PM, 9th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 09/04/2022 - 09:34
So super selective that I have empty properties while prospective tenants sleep on the streets, I can no longer afford to house the non payers who coincidentally are the biggest whingers.

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