Landlord fined after lock-changing frustration

A Stoke-based landlord has been slammed with a hefty fine after being found guilty of ‘harassing an occupier to give up the occupation of their premises’.

After changing the locks on his buy to let investment property to stop his tenant - who had failed to pay their rent for six months - from accessing the property, landlord Nathan Shipley will have to pay up over £2,800 after a judge at North Staffordshire Justice Centre ruled that he should be charged.

He also attempted to remove the windows and doors of the property to try and prevent anyone other than the tenant from moving into the property.
Frustrated Mr Shipley was allegedly ‘not concerned with prosecution’ as his tenant was in rent arrears, and claimed that he had been left thousands of pounds out of pocket already.

A landlord can evict their tenant if they are in breach of the tenancy agreement, although it is dependent on a breach in the agreement. There is a legal procedure of taking the matter to court and persuading that there is an offence which warrants eviction. What a landlord cannot do is evict without following procedure - that is harassment and a criminal offence.

Simon Harris, chief executive of Stoke-on-Trent Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB)

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