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Conditional discharge and four-figure bill after illegal eviction

A landlord has been given a conditional discharge and a four-figure bill after being found guilty of unlawfully evicting a tenant.

Cornwall Council prosecuted Marlene Goodland of Truro under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

At Truro magistrates court, Goodland was found guilty of unlawfully evicting the tenant from an address in the city. Goodland received a 12 month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £4,321.80 to the council.

In March this year Goodland unlawfully entered the private rented house with a locksmith and changed the locks to the external doors locking her tenant’s family possessions inside.

She took back possession of the premises within the initial six months rental term.

A council spokesman said: “The defendant informed the court that she believed that the tenant had vacated the premises at the time that she took possession.  The landlord did not follow any lawful process before making the decision to enter the premises with a locksmith, change the locks and take over possession.”

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    So her punishment was only a conditional discharge and simply to pay the local council their costs? Pathetic. What is the point in going to the trouble of bringing a prosecution, with the theoretical risk it will be unsuccessful, with a neutral outcome like this? What incentive is there for landlords and tenants to seek out licensed lettings agents when cowboys/girls commit an offence like this and get off with no punishment at all?

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