A LANDLORD has been fined for unlawfully evicting a tenant, leaving him homeless.

Mark King, 43, of Lyttleton Crescent, Cubley, was prosecuted after he unlawfully evicted his tenant by denying him access to the premises he had a right to occupy.

The tenancy had begun in October 2017 based on a verbal agreement. On May 12 2018, King sent his tenant, who had fallen behind on his rent, a series of text messages stating he was changing the locks and locking the windows.

When the tenant returned to the property the following day, the locks had been changed, and he was unable to enter the property. The tenant was also not able to recover his belongings.

Despite efforts by the council to have the tenant reinstated, he was left homeless. Following a lengthy investigation, King was charged with two offences under the Protection from Eviction Act.

King pleaded not guilty to both charges and told the court that the tenant had never occupied the flat.

Following a two day trial, King was found guilty for both charges. He was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment suspended for 24 months and ordered to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay the tenant compensation of £5509, a victim surcharge of £115 and the council’s legal costs of £4385.66, within 56 days. The total costs amounted to £10,009.

On passing sentence, the Magistrates said “You have been found guilty of offences against an individual who was totally reliant on his accommodation. You have denied him his worldly possessions, some of which had sentimental value.

"This was a complete breach of implied trust between landlord and tenant, and your callous actions have reached the threshold for a custodial sentence. The text messages compounded the acts.”