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Landlord handed prison sentence for illegal eviction

A landlord has been sentenced to six weeks in prison following the illegal evicting of one of his tenants and for putting their safety at risk.

Lemuel Browne pleaded guilty to multiple charges at St Albans Magistrates Court last month, including illegal eviction, failing to maintain the fire alarm and electrical installation in a safe and working condition.

The unsafe conditions at Gladstone Road in Watford were initially identified by the environmental health team at Watford Borough Council in October last year following a complaint about the state of the property.

Just 24 hours later, police were called to address a dispute between Browne and an occupant. Following the disagreement, the landlord illegally evicted the tenant.

Council officers attempted to resolve the situation, but Browne refused to oblige. He failed to produce tenancy agreements, rent records and other documents needed for the council’s investigation, leaving with them with no alternative but to take legal action.

Justine Hoy, head of Environmental Health & Licensing at Watford Borough Council, commented: “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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