A landlord’s son has been ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to a tenant after changing the locks with her belongings still inside the property in Nottingham.
Aside from pay compensation, city magistrates also ordered Mohammed Azheem, 32, to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, pay Nottingham City Council’s costs of £600 and a government surcharge of £85.
The court told Azheem, who has helped his father manage his property portfolio since he was 18, 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.
After the tenant fell into rent arrears, Azheem, also referred to as ‘Jimmy’, turned up at the rental property without prior notice, used his own keys to enter the flat, and eventually changed the locks.
Sarah Mills, on behalf of Nottingham City Council, said that Azheem also sent the tenant a number of WhatsApp messages demanding the outstanding rent.
“On January 18, they [the WhatApp messages from Azheem] became more aggressive, telling her [the tenant] to move out or he would change the locks,” said Mills.
When the locks were eventually changed, the tenant was unable to retrieve her belongings.
Azheem pleaded guilty to unlawfully depriving the woman of her residence.
Presiding magistrate 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.”