A local council has prosecuted a rogue landlord for illegally evicting a young couple from their accommodation in Cheltenham.
The landlord - Lidia Szopinska of Camden, London - let a room in a house she owned in Cheltenham to the couple for a period of nine months from May 2019.
After the couple gave notice that they wished to leave the property early, relations between the landlord and the couple worsened with the landlord making allegations of breaches of the tenancy.
The couple had agreed to leave the property in August 2019 but in July 2019, when they returned to the property having been to visit relatives, they found their possessions on the street and the landlord present.
Magistrates hearing the case on concluded that the landlord illegally evicted the couple – one of whom was pregnant at the time.
It is a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 for any person to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his / her household, or to persistently withdraw or withhold services reasonably required for the occupation of the premises as a residence with the intent of causing the residential occupier to give up occupation of the property.
A council spokesperson says: ‘’Cheltenham Borough Council will not tolerate the harassment or illegal eviction of private tenants. We are committed to ensuring that all private landlords operate on a level playing field and officers will support those who operate professionally, while taking enforcement action against rogue landlords."
Szopinska was fined £180 and ordered to pay the sum of £2,010 towards the costs of the prosecution.
She was also ordered to pay £1,560 compensation to the couple for the distress of the eviction, the non-return of their deposit, rent repayment and the loss of a bag containing a laptop and other important items, stolen from outside of the property.
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