Illegal Eviction Leads to Prison for Landlord

A rogue landlord is facing a prison sentence after the illegal eviction of one of his tenants as well as general negligence that could have impacted their safety.

Watford landlord Lemuel Browne has been sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment for the illegal eviction of his tenant. He pleaded guilty to multiple charges at St Albans Magistrates Court on the 22nd of March. These included illegal eviction as well as failing to maintain the fire alarm. He had also failed to ensure that any electrical installation was in a safe and working condition.

The situation first came to light following a complaint about the condition of 85 Gladstone Road, Watford. Following this, officers from Watford Borough Council ‘s Environmental Health team inspected the property in October last year. They noted several issues with its condition which could have led to it being unsafe for the tenants who currently lived there.

Just a day later, police were called to the address as a result of a disagreement between Browne and one of the property’s occupants. Following the dispute, Browne illegally evicted the tenant.

In order to resolve the issues, council officers continued to try and work with Browne, however he refused to cooperate. He would not produce tenancy agreements, rent records and other necessary documentation which was required for the council investigation

Head of Environmental Health & Licensing at Watford Borough Council, Justine Hoy, said: ‘The vast majority of Watford landlords are completely professional and ethical; they do not take advantage of tenants or break the law. The council will continue to work with responsible landlords to support them and also do what we can to protect tenant rights and prevent homelessness.’

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