Two landlords in Peterborough have illegally evicted their tenant by changing the locks of their rental property after the tenant lost their job and was unable to pay rent, a jury has heard.
Illegal Evictions Unacceptable
The married couple, Parveen Akhtar and Mohammed Zahid, forced the tenant out of the flat, and pleaded not guilty to illegally ejecting him. Nevertheless, they were both found guilty following a trial at Huntingdon Crown Court.
The court heard that the tenant applied for financial help from Peterborough City Council to help him with paying the rent, although Akhtar would not sign the essential forms.
Additionally, Zahid changed the locks on the property without consulting the tenant, which further led the tenant to complain to the city council, who then decided to prosecute the two landlords.
Jo Fowkes, a tenancy relations officer, explains that the couple were given an opportunity to follow necessary guidelines before Peterborough City Council took action.
Fowkes says: “We urged the landlady, Akhtar, to allow the tenant back into the property, but the request was refused which resulted in the tenant being homeless. Akhtar failed to follow the due legal process which allows landlords to evict tenants legally.”1
Furthermore, councillor Peter Hiller adds: “We have a statutory duty to take action against landlords who illegally evict their tenants. There is a legal process all owners and agents are obliged to follow should they want to recover possession of all property from their tenants. Owners, letting agents, and rent collectors should be familiar with the process and should obtain legal advice before considering evicting someone.”1
Hiller says that this case should act as an example to other landlords.