A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay more than £7,000 after a tenant came back home to find the locks changed and all his belongings were strewn across the front garden.
Two months after the tenant, who has not been named, moved into a property in Southmead, he returned home to find a note on his bedroom door giving him notice to leave.
After reporting the incident to Bristol City Council, he went home to find the locks had been changed and all of his processions were outside on Ringwood Crescent.
Lydia Suleaudu of Monteagle Court in London, has been fined £1,500 and ordered to pay compensation of £490 to the tenant. She also has to fork out almost £5,000 in prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £150 after being found guilty at Bristol Magistrates Court.
Ms Suleaudu claimed he was not a tenant because a tenancy agreement had yet to be completed. Therefore she claimed that she did not need to follow the legal procedure for eviction.
The court found that he was a residential occupier of the property and as such the legal procedures for eviction should have been carried out.
Councillor Paul Smith, cabinet member for housing, said: “It is important for all landlords, even those renting only one or two properties to understand their responsibilities for renting to tenants.
“Enforcement action against illegal eviction is a priority for the Rogue Landlord Unit in order to protect vulnerable tenants, so we are very pleased with the outcome of this case. We hope that other landlords will see this as a clear message that we are here to look after tenants across the city.”
The council’s Rogue Landlord Unit investigates if tenants are illegally evicted from their home. Tenants may also be able claim back up to 12 months’ rent.
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