Suspended Prison Sentence for Landlord After Illegal Eviction

A rogue landlord has been handed a suspended prison sentence with a 16-week curfew, along with fines of over £10,600, after being found guilty of harassing and illegally evicting his tenant.

Simon Knight, 57, took several measures to illegally evict his tenant rather than following the correct procedures. He changed the locks to his rental property, preventing the tenant from accessing their home, belongings and essential medication. Knight was convicted under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court were told how Knight failed to formally terminate the tenancy of his property, located in Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire. Instead, he opted to illegally force his tenant to leave. He took various steps to do this, including removing the tenant’s bedroom door and bed, padlocking the communal bathroom door shut and disconnecting the power to the property’s shower. 

Winchester City Council also heard of how the rogue landlord failed to repair the oven, washing machine, tumble dryer and kitchen extractor fan in a bid to drive his tenant out. The measures taken were deemed to have significantly damaged the tenant’s quality of life in the property. They may have also rendered the home unsafe for habitation. 

Knight was convicted following a trial at Southampton Magistrates’ Court. The landlord was sentenced to a 12-week jail term suspended for two years, along with a 16-week curfew between 8pm and 6am. He was also forced to pay £2,000 compensation on top of the council’s £8,490 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Councilor Caroline Horrill commented on the case: ‘This result sends a strong message that the city council will not tolerate rogue landlords taking advantage of their tenants private rented accommodation being in an unfit or unsafe condition. Whilst we have a positive relationship with most landlords in the district, the actions of this landlord were evidentially unacceptable and resulted in real hardship for the tenant he illegally evicted.’

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