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Landlord given suspended prison sentence for illegal eviction

A buy-to-let landlord has been given a suspended prison sentence, handed a 16-week curfew and ordered to pay more than £10,600 after being found guilty of harassing and illegally evicting his tenant.

Simon Knight, 57, was convicted under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 after changing the locks, preventing the tenant from getting in to the property and from accessing his belongings and essential medication.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard how Knight failed to formally terminate the tenancy of his property on Langton Road in Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire, but rather embarked on a course of conduct intended to force his tenant to leave.

This included removing the tenant’s bedroom door and bed, padlocking the communal bathroom door shut and disconnecting the power to the shower.

According to Winchester City Council, the rogue landlord also failed to repair the oven, washing machine, tumble dryer and kitchen extractor fan. 

Knight was convicted following a trial at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

He was sentenced to a 12-week jail term suspended for two years, with a 16-week curfew between 8pm and 6am. Knight must pay £2,000 compensation, the council’s £8,490 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Cllr Caroline Horrill said: ‘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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