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Gloucestershire Business News

Rogue landlord fined over Cheltenham eviction

A rogue landlord has been fined for the illegal eviction of a Cheltenham couple.

Lidia Szopinska of Camden, London, was prosecuted by Cheltenham Borough Council for illegally evicting a young couple from the room they let a room in a house in Townsend Street.

The accommodation was let for a period of 9 months from May 2019.

But after the couple gave notice that they wished to leave the property early, relations between the landlord and the couple deteriorated with the landlord saying the couple were in breach of the tenancy.

The couple had agreed to leave the property on 19th August 2019 but on 14th July 2019. But when they returned to property after visiting relatives they found their possessions on the street and the landlord present.

Magistrates hearing the case on 8th November 2021 concluded that the landlord did illegally evict the couple - one of whom was pregnant at the time.

It is a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 for any person to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his/her household, or to persistently withdraw or withhold services reasonably required for the occupation of the premises as a residence with the intent of causing the residential occupier to give up occupation of the property.

Cllr Martin Horwood, member for regulatory services, said: ''Cheltenham Borough Council will not tolerate the harassment or illegal eviction of private tenants.

"We are committed to ensuring that all private landlords operate on a level playing field and officers will support those who operate professionally, while taking enforcement action against rogue landlords."

Mark Nelson, enforcement manager, said: "When relationships break down between tenants and landlords there are strict legal processes that have to be followed and council officers are here to help both sides move forward.

"No landlord can act outside the law and we will do everything in our power to ensure tenants can live in rented properties safe in the knowledge that we are there to protect them from illegal eviction.''

Ms Szopinska was fined £180 and ordered to pay the sum of £2,010 towards the costs of the prosecution. She was also ordered to pay the sum of £1,560 compensation to the couple for the distress of the eviction, the non-return of their deposit, rent repayment and for the loss of a bag containing a laptop and other important items, stolen from outside the property.

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