The council’s Rogue Landlord Unit brought the case against Lydia Suleaudu of Monteagle Court in London, for illegally evicting a tenant from a property in Ringwood Crescent, Southmead.
Ms Suleaudu was found guilty at Bristol Magistrates Court and fined £1,500 and ordered to pay compensation of £490 to the tenant. She was also ordered to pay almost £5,000 in prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £150.
The tenant rented a room from Ms Suleaudu and moved into the property on January 26 2018. Two months later he returned to Bristol after working away to find a note on his bedroom door giving him notice to leave the property. The notice was invalid as it didn’t comply with legal eviction procedures.
The tenant contacted the council and then went to the property and found that the locks had been changed and all of his belongings were in the front garden. Ms Sulueaudu refused to let the tenant back in and an investigation was launched.
Ms Suleaudu claimed he was not a tenant, as he had not yet been given a tenancy agreement and she was waiting for reference checks to be completed. Therefore she claimed that she did not need to follow the legal procedure for eviction.
The court found that he was a residential occupier of the property and as such the legal procedures for eviction should have been followed.
Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, said, “It is important for all landlords, even those renting only one or two properties to understand their responsibilities for renting to tenants. Enforcement action against illegal eviction is a priority for the Rogue Landlord Unit in order to protect vulnerable tenants, so we are very pleased with the outcome of this case. We hope that other landlords will see this as a clear message that we are here to look after tenants across the city.”
The Rogue Landlord Unit investigates and takes enforcement action if tenants are illegally evicted from their home. Tenants may also be able claim back up to 12 months’ rent for in such cases.
To find out more visit http://bristol.gov.uk/roguelandlords