Published on 23rd November 2021

A wooden gavel on top of a document

Rogue landlord fined for illegal eviction of Cheltenham couple.

Cheltenham Borough Council have successfully prosecuted a rogue landlord for illegally evicting a young couple from their accommodation in Cheltenham. The landlord Lidia Szopinska of Camden, London let a room in a house she owned in Townsend Street to the couple for a period of 9 months from May 2019.

After the couple gave notice that they wished to leave the property early, relations between the landlord and the couple worsened with the landlord making allegations of breaches of the tenancy. The couple had agreed to leave the property on 19 August 2019 but on 14 July 2019, when they returned to property having been to visit relatives, found their possessions on the street and the landlord present.

Magistrates hearing the case on 8 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 continued: “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 £2010 towards the costs of the prosecution.  She was also ordered to pay the sum of £1560 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 of the property.  

Any tenants who believe they have been evicted illegally should contact the enforcement team  or call 01242 264119.

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