A lettings agency director has been issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order for unlawfully evicting a tenant back in 2019.
CFDP Ltd, trading as Belvoir Nuneaton and Hinckley, along with its director Clayton Foston, have been taken to court by Hinckley & Bosworth council for removing the possessions and changing the locks of a tenant’s flat while the tenant was unwell and in hospital.
Foston appeared before Loughborough Magistrates’ Court for trial this week; he pleaded not guilty to the offence he was personally accused of, and pleaded not guilty on behalf of his limited company.
However, magistrates found both to be guilty of an offence under Section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
CFDP Ltd (Belvoir) was fined £5,000 for the offence, and Foston received a personal fine of £1,000. Costs for taking the case of £3,472.76 were awarded to the council and a victim surcharge of £290 brought the final bill to the offenders to £9,762.76.
A Criminal Behaviour Order was also issued to Foston which places restrictions on his activity in the private rented sector.
The guilty verdict also allows the victims to seek civil compensation.
The council says it became aware of the offence in August 2019 after the former tenant raised concerns about the process by which they were removed from their previous home in April of that year.
A council spokeswoman says: “The council will not accept residents being displaced from their homes and will take appropriate action where it is required.
“The process for ending a tenancy is set out clearly in law and guidance so there is no excuse for failing to afford your tenants due process.
“While unlawful eviction in Hinckley and Bosworth is relatively rare this case should serve as a warning to those who may be considering it, especially after the last year of restrictions and financial challenges.”
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.