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Landlord ordered to pay more than £10k for illegally evicting tenant

A private tenant was shocked when he returned home to find the locks to his rental property had been changed and his belongings removed.

The man, who was living at the property in The Crescent, Bridlington, with another tenant, was given just one week’s notice to vacate.

The landlord, Fiddlers Investment Ltd, was warned by East Riding of Yorkshire Council that it had not followed correct eviction proceedings by serving just one week’s notice and would be investigated for a criminal offence, unless they followed the correct steps.

But the company opted to ignore the warning and pressed ahead anyway.

After the resident refused to leave the property, which was a HMO, with such short notice, the landlord changed the locks and removed his belongings.

An East Riding of Yorkshire Council spokesman said Fiddlers’ directors, Tracy Hollwarth and Barrie Craven, along with its regional manager, Sheridan Brown, refused to accept they had done anything wrong in the eviction, which happened in September 2016.

The company was charged with two offences of unlawful eviction, which the two directors and regional manager pleaded guilty to at a hearing at Beverley Magistrates Court last week.

Fiddlers Investment Ltd was ordered to pay £10,865.15, including a fine of £4,000 and costs of £6,865.

Chris Dunnachie, private sector housing and safety manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, commented: “The council has a duty to protect tenants to make sure they are safe from illegal evictions.

“Some landlords fail to accept that, despite being their property, each and every room or flat within that property is a person’s home and they have no right of entry without the tenant’s agreement, and must follow clear legal procedures to ensure their tenants are given appropriate notice to leave.

“We will deal with any landlord, letting agent or property company who does not abide by the law. It was disappointing that in this case, Fiddlers Investments Ltd chose not to take officer’s advice.”

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