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The son of a buy to let landlord has been prosecuted for changing the locks of his father’s buy to let property with the tenant’s belongings still inside.
Mohammed Azheem, the landlord’s son, turned up at the rental property in Nottingham without prior notice, used his own keys to enter the flat, and eventually changed the locks.
Nottingham magistrates court found Mohammed Azheem – also known as Jimmy – guilty and ordered him to pay £1,000 in compensation to the tenant. They also ordered him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, pay Nottingham City Council’s costs of £600 and a government surcharge of £85.
The court advised Mr Azheem that his actions had caused the tenant, who was renting the two-bedroom flat on a six-month tenancy agreement, a great deal of distress, owed in part to language problems.
The landlord’s son had helped his father to manage his property portfolio since he was 18, buy when the tenant fell into rent arrears, Azheem sent the tenant a number of WhatsApp messages demanding the outstanding rent.
Sarah Mills, on behalf of Nottingham City Council, said: ‘On January 18, they [the WhatsApp messages from Azheem] became more aggressive, telling her [the tenant] to move out or he would change the locks.’
When the locks were changed the tenant was unable to retrieve her belongings, leading to the court case where Azheem pleaded guilty to unlawfully depriving the woman of her residence.
The presiding magistrate at Nottingham magistrates court, Nikki Whitelaw, told him: ‘This is a very severe offence in that someone has been deprived of their residence. It was aggravated by the fact that this individual is Hungarian and has language challenges as well.’
The landlord’s son was ordered by the court to pay a total of £1,650 for the offence, in addition to the 120 hours of unpaid work.