A man has successfully sued his friends for 'unpaid rent' following what started of as a friendly game of Monopoly.
John Matthews, 30, held a games night at his house in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire back in December and invited four of his friends over. One of the games played was the Derby version of Monopoly.
It is alleged that Mr Matthews' obtained a number of properties on the game and built apartment complexes using the red and green board pieces that come with the game.
Matthews complained that when his friends landed on his properties, they refused to pay him any rent in Monopoly money, which the victim says was "out of spite", despite some of the properties he owned being located right next to the "Collect M200 Million As You Pass Go" square, and so they could "clearly afford the rent."
Mr Matthews said in a written statement: "It started out as a friendly game of our local monopoly, but unfortunately things turned dark when my so called 'friends' refused to pay the rent they owed me. There's absolutely no excuse for it. They are cheaters and I'll be damned if I ever play Monopoly with them again."
Mr Matthews took all four of his ex-friends to Burton-upon-Trent County Court, where he won his case and they were ordered to pay him costs and compensation, apologise and to read the rules on Monopoly in full. As a result, they are now reportedly in 'financial dire straits' and one has had to downgrade accommodation to a cardboard box near Burton train station.
This is due to the Board Games Act 2017, which states anyone playing Monopoly enters into a legally binding contract, and therefore must pay rent when it is owed. This is the first reported case of this kind in the country.
One of Mr Matthew's friend's, Dan Smith, defended his actions, saying he didn't know he had to pay rent as "John had been in jail."
He told us: "John picked up a chance card and was thrown in jail for unpaid taxes. I thought if he was in jail, we didn't need to pay rent on the properties he owned. He's coming after us for unpaid rent, but he clearly doesn't pay his own bills, otherwise he wouldn't have ended up in jail. He needs to look at his own morals before attacking others."
According to another one of Mr Matthew's friend's, the game ended when he failed to roll a double six to get out of jail, he immediately saw red and ended up throwing the game board off the kitchen table in extreme anger, with red and green board pieces, chance cards and community chest cards going across the floor, before he stormed off, claiming the game was "stupid anyway".
Matthews later concluded by stating that they would be sticking to non-board games in the future, including Twister and Pass The Parcel. However, he may be playing on his own, as he allegedly no longer has friends and people in the Burton-upon-Trent area regularly cross to the other side of the road when they see him approaching.
Mr Matthew's former friends will be featured on the next series of Channel 5's 'Can't Pay, We'll Take It Away'.