Tulisa Contostavlos, pictured last night at 8 Northumberland Avenue in London, has been told to pay her former landlord £70,000
Pop star and former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has been told to pay £70,000 compensation over claims she ‘trashed’ her luxury rented £1million flat.
The former N-Dubz singer was sued after moving out of the penthouse home in Enfield, North London, in 2016, with her landlord Andrew Charalambous claiming she left the formerly ‘pristine’ property in ‘an appalling unlettable condition’.
The landlord says that when he let the apartment to the singer in September 2014, it was ‘in tip-top condition and when he took it back it was trashed’.
Mr Charalambous claims the damage to his property included the fridge door being ripped off, stains and cigarette burns on the carpets, the sink in the bathroom being smashed and cigarette burns on the bath.
‘Miss Contostavlos, who is a pop star, had a lot of parties there,’ his barrister Max Thorowgood claimed at Central London County Court.
Lawyers for Miss Contostavlos, 31, told Judge David Saunders she ‘denies that any damage was caused by her or that any damage is over and above normal wear and tear’.
But the judge ordered the singer – who mentored Little Mix – to pay her former landlord more than £70,000, plus the legal costs of the action, after striking out her defence due to her failure to comply with earlier court orders.
Tulisa moved into the three-bedroom penthouse apartment in Enfield, North London, in 2014
Judge Saunders told Miss Contostavlos she must pay up, despite her legal team blaming the failure to follow court orders on a ‘breakdown in communication’ between her and her solicitor whilst she was overseas.
The court heard that pitta bakery tycoon Mr Charalambous, 44, leased his ‘brand new, pristine three-bedroomed apartment’ to Miss Contostavlos in September 2014 for a monthly rent of £3,466.
‘In July 2016, she returned it to him in what he alleges was an appalling – unlettable – condition,’ claimed Mr Thorowgood.
Mr Charalambous then sued for the costs of repairing damage done and ‘the loss of the replacement tenant to whom he had agreed to let the flat after she vacated it’.
Part of the alleged harm done consisted of damage to carpets and household items, the court heard, with Mr Charalambous complaining that a fridge door had been ‘pulled off’.
The singer denied she had caused the damage to the luxury flat in Enfield, North London
Mr Thorowgood claimed that even on the pop star’s case it was clear she owed her landlord a substantial cash sum for the trail of havoc.
‘It is absolutely clear from the nature of some of the items which are admitted – such as the stains and cigarette burns on the carpets, the sink in the bathroom being smashed and the cigarette burns on the bath – that she did not look after this property as she should have done,’ said the barrister.
Miss Contostavlos denies breaching the terms of her lease, her barrister, Mark Brittain, explained.
‘It is alleged that my client left this property in a bit of a mess, but she says she did not,’ he told the judge.
‘Her defence is that she denies that any damage was caused by her or that any damage is over and above normal wear and tear.’
The star had agreed to pay £3,466-a-month in rent and signed a tenancy agreement in which she promised to pay for any damage or repairs needed because of her ‘negligence or misuse’
The judge dismissed her challenge to a previous ruling which had ‘struck out’ her defence due to non-compliance with crucial court orders and had awarded Mr Charalambous £70,832 compensation – including interest.
The court orders mainly concerned directions for preparing evidence about the alleged toll of damage done in the flat.
Mr Charalambous’ lawyers argued that ‘no proper or satisfactory explanation for the breaches has been given’.
‘Insofar as any explanation is proffered, it is that she is an artiste who can’t be bothered to keep in touch with/pay her solicitor,’ his barrister said in court documents.
And he told the court: ‘It is obvious what happened here: my client let his beautiful new apartment and Miss Contostavlos, who is a pop star, had a lot of parties there.’
‘You don’t know that,’ the judge pointed out.
The landlord said the penthouse apartment was in ‘pristine’ condition when she moved in
‘But my client should not have to carry the can,’ replied Mr Thorowgood.
Ms Contostavlos’ legal team blamed the failure to follow court orders on a ‘breakdown in communication’ between her and her solicitor while she was working overseas.
This ‘prevented him from obtaining instructions in time to comply with the order,’ they claimed.
Mr Brittain urged the judge to give his client a last chance to defend her case, adding: ‘The effect of refusing relief from sanction produces the most serious result possible, it will effectively mean she loses.’
Much of the evidence in the case was straightforward, he argued.
But the judge was unconvinced and told the court: ‘The suggestion that this delay was due to these reasons is weak.
Miss Contostavlos said there was nothing more than ‘normal wear and tear’ to the property
‘It is well established that contact can be made with individuals in this country by either mobile phone or email.
‘It may well be that Ms Contostavlos has an agent but, even if not, being abroad is not a bar to remaining in touch with her solicitor – particularly when she is aware of the importance of this case, which involves a substantial amount of money.’
The trial of Mr Charalambous’ claim was originally fixed to go ahead on October 29, but Judge Saunders’ ruling means the landlord has now won his case against the singer.
Miss Contostavlos must now pay him a total of £70,832 – including interest – and shoulder the legal costs of the action.
But neither she nor her former landlord were in court for the final hearing of the case.
Tulisa pictured with Fazer (left) and Dappy (right) as N-Dubz at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2010
Miss Contostavlos successfully mentored the girl band Little Mix while a judge on X Factor in 2011.
She originally became a star with the Camden-based band N-Dubz over ten years ago, and in July released her latest solo single, Sippin’.
A spokesman for Miss Contostavlos told MailOnline today: ‘Tulisa categorically denies these claims made about her and the damage to the property.
‘Due to a paperwork error, Tulisa has not yet had the opportunity to put her evidence before the court which she was hoping to do at trial.
‘This latest judgment effectively prevents Tulisa from giving her side of the story. Tulisa’s legal team are now appealing this decision and asking for a new date to be set.’