Mrs Georgina East, director of Propertarian Limited – a property management company responsible for a number of rental properties in Tamworth – has been ordered to pay a fine and costs of £2,925 after using threatening behaviour towards a tenant.
Mrs East pleaded guilty at Stafford Magistrates’ Court for unlawfully evicting a tenant under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
The 62-year-old landlord admitted that she used threatening behaviour towards a tenant, and deliberately had the locks changed at the tenant’s property, during December 2014.
The tenant in question had no option but to sleep rough, and he then lodged a complaint with officers at Tamworth Borough Council.
Council officers discovered that Mrs East had evicted the tenant without giving valid written notice or seeking possession for the property through the courts.
It also transpired that Mrs East had threatened the tenant with an Alsatian dog, in an attempt to convince him to leave.
Mrs East accepted a caution for a similar offence when trying to unlawfully evict a tenant in 2013, but following this incident the court issued an order for her to pay the fine and costs within seven days.
Under current laws, landlords usually have to seek possession of a property that has a tenant through the County Court, and only a bailiff appointed by the court has the right to evict a tenant that refuses to leave.
Unlawfully evicting or harassing tenants to gain possession of a property can result in the landlord being served with an unlimited fine or imprisonment for up to two years, or both.