A landlord was taken to court after illegally evicting a tenant. Landlord Lee Challinor changing the locks of the property while his tenant was away for the weekend.
Magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard there had been a ‘breakdown’ in the relationship between Lee Challinor and the tenant prior to the eviction, due to matters relating to rent payments and the cleanliness of the house.
“Approximately four months later, the relationship between the tenant and the defendant broke down. The tenant had defaulted on the rent payments.
“There were a number of discussions between the two via WhatsApp over the rent and the cleanliness of the property.
“On November 30, the tenant went to visit family in Nottingham for the weekend. While he was there, he received a message from the defendant, telling him the locks had been changed on the property.
“The lawful process is that formal notice to quit should be given in writing and an application should be made to the county court for an order of possession. It is unlawful to simply change the locks on someone’s accommodation.”
Magistrates found Challinor guilty of depriving or displacing a residential occupier from a premise.
Challinor was handed a 12-month community order and is ordered to complete 120 hours’ unpaid work and pay £1,422 in costs and an £85 victim surcharge.