Illegal Eviction Costs Landlord £7,000

A rogue landlord who illegally evicted a tenant had to pay more than £7,000 in compensation after facing a catalogue of claims in court.

A judge lambasted landlord Mr Pigeon at Chippenham and Trowbridge County Court, Wiltshire.

The court heard that Pigeon had let a buy-to-let home to 19-year-old Mr Akrigg, who was moving into his first property after being in the care of Wiltshire County Council.

In December 2013, the council paid rent and a £425 deposit for the home, which was let under an assured shorthold tenancy.

The landlords failed to protect the deposit.

A year later, the landlord served the tenant with a notice to quit. The rent was not in arrears, and the landlord had no issues with the tenant.

The council pointed out the notice was not valid as the deposit was not protected.

A couple of months later, the landlord tried to serve the notice to quit again without success.

The row between the landlord and the council over the unprotected deposit culminated with the landlord threatening to change the locks on the property.

He also forged documents and tried to cancel the tenant’s housing benefit, claiming he had agreed to move out.

In April 2016, the tenant went to stay with his partner’s parents, and on his return, the locks on his home had been changed.

The council helped him win an injunction against the landlord, and Mr Akrigg returned to his home.

In court, the landlord refused to file a defence. He was ordered to return the deposit, pay damages for harassment, and compensation for each night the tenant could not use his home and for failing to protect the deposit.

This came to £7,165. The court also ordered the landlord to pay costs.

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Unlawful Eviction and Harassment

The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 makes it a criminal offence for any person to unlawfully deprive a 'residential occupier' of their occupation of the premises. Unless the tenant agrees to vacate, the only legal way a landlord can evict a tenant is by obtaining a court order. Any term in the tenancy agreement that says otherwise will be void.