A landlord had been sentenced after being found guilty of the illegal eviction of his former tenant.
A lengthy investigation was conducted by Warrington council after a tenant came to the housing advice service in the city following his eviction by Adil Lahmer, who said he wanted to occupy his investment property himself.
Initially Lahmer stated he wanted to occupy the property to self-isolate as he was returning from Germany, but later it was found he wanted to stay in the property.
Lahmer had originally denied the truth of the housing arrangement with his tenant - who was a friend - and stated that the tenancy agreement that was signed had been a forgery. This was later found out not to be the case.
Recorder Richard Leiper QC stated that the offence committed was a deliberate act, planned in advance and committed in breach of a written agreement and the day after a rent payment for December had been made by the tenant.
He also said the defendant may not have been aware of the seriousness of the offence and may well not be a commercial landlord, however, he had done very little to mitigate his culpability.
An aggravating factor was the defendant’s position from the outset that the tenancy agreement was a forgery when this was not the case.
A statement from Warrington council claims that while Lahmer told the court that he was remorseful, that was not reflected in his account to the Probation Service, with his account differing from the evidence in the case.
With regard to harm to the victim – this was described as considerable. The tenant lost his job, his studies were affected and the company which he had recently set up was subsequently dissolved. There was also an impact upon his relationship with his children. He also lost most of his personal possessions.
Lahmer was sentenced to 24 weeks’ custody suspended for 18 months; 150 hours of unpaid work; £541 compensation payable to the tenant; and £1,000 contribution to the council’s prosecution costs.
A council spokesman says: “This is a fantastic outcome after the hard work that has been put in by our housing and legal teams. This should also serve as a warning for other unscrupulous landlords that this behaviour is not acceptable.
“If you are a private tenant and are illegally evicted, then the council may be able to assist with finding you alternative accommodation, negotiating with the landlord on your behalf or even supporting a prosecution against your landlord, if there is sufficient evidence.”
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