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Landlord prosecuted after leaving tenant 'homeless'

A landlord has been fined almost £500 after changing the locks on his rental property. 

Peter Lamont was prosecuted by Halton Council for unlawfully denying a tenant access to a rental property. 

The incident occurred in January and the landlord pleaded guilty to a charge under the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 at Warrington Magistrates' Court.

Lamont has been fined £440 and order to pay council court costs.

"Landlords and letting agents must follow the correct legal process when terminating a tenancy," commented Councillor Stef Nelson, Halton Council's executive board member for environmental health. 

"It is a criminal offence for any letting agent or landlord to illegally evict tenants from their property."

He said that the council hopes that this prosecution will act as a deterrent, showing landlords that the authority takes allegations of illegal eviction 'very seriously' and will not hesitate to take action against those who violate their tenants' rights.

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    Sounds like a half story to me.
    Rent unpaid and place trashed maybe?

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    As a landlord for thirty years or more, I would suggest that this level of a fine is worthwhile accepting in order to remove a troublesome tenant and is considerably cheaper than going down the legal route. If the the authorities are actually serious about harassment then this fine needs to be quadrupled. This landlord got off extremely lightly for such a crime.

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    This is published as a £440 in Letting Agent Today. Did it change when passed on? Chinese whispers comes to mind!

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    This sounds like a bargain to me. I'm currently evicting a tenant who now owes 4 months rent, had to give her all correct notice period of 2 months, should be evicted tomorrow but council have told her not to leave so now court, costs and another 4 months free lodgings. I'm now on credit cards just to keep my family running.
    It's blatantly obvious to me that this council has no idea of the pain and expense of having a tenant who is playing the system. If I were less conscientious I would also change locks and accept the fine and save my own family suffering hardship

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    This is a crazy fine it makes a complete mockery of the section 8 and 21 process. Of course I suppose there is always the chance of getting before the tougher judge and getting a prison sentence which I understand is possible in these cases.

  • Property  Guru

    Act as a deterrent, oh please most landlords will read this and think its ok and far cheaper to change the lock and pay the fine than lose thousands in lost rents and damage etc.

    Why is it we always prosecute the landlord yet can’t prosecute the tenants for fly tipping, criminal damage, benefit fraud etc. in our own homes. Oh yeah! if we did just one won prosecution the police would not be able to cope.


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