London: Wemimo Taiwo Sues Estate Agent Over Harassment
A former City marketing executive who claims she suffered a mental breakdown because of her treatment by a “rude, condescending and insulting” estate agent is suing for more than £1.4 million in compensation.
Wemimo Taiwo was harassed by “oppressive” lettings agent Caroline Arundell, who entered her home unannounced in a bid to force her out.
The next day Mrs Taiwo — who was on maternity leave with a newborn baby — found herself under “siege” by Mrs Arundell and two bailiffs for more than an hour while the locks were changed, and was then locked in the flat, forcing police to break the door down.
She sued for compensation over the ordeal, and is now guaranteed a payout after a High Court judge upheld a ruling that she had been the victim of harassment by the estate agent.
Mrs Taiwo, who was living in the flat in Bath with her university academic husband when she was subjected to threats from Mrs Arundell over six days in September and October 2010, claims the episode led to a breakdown and a stint in the Priory clinic.
She blames her “recurrent depressive disorder and reaction to severe stress” on Mrs Arundell’s behaviour.
Judge Christopher Sharp QC, sitting at Bristol county court, ruled in April that Mrs Taiwo was entitled to damages from Homelets of Bath Ltd, where Mrs Arundell was managing director. A High Court judge has now rejected an appeal against the ruling.
The court heard Mrs Taiwo worked in the City before moving to Bath to be with her husband, Ayobamidele Taiwo, when she was seven months pregnant. When Mr Taiwo fell behind on the rent during a bout of serious illness, Mrs Arundell tried to force them out.
Judge Sharp said Mrs Taiwo, left home alone with the baby while her husband was in hospital, sent emails and letters to Mrs Arundell explaining the situation and had sent on a rent payment but it was not enough to cover the arrears.