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Sub-letting: Council wins landmark case against landlord

A landlord has been prosecuted for both illegal sub-letting and illegal eviction at the same time - an occurrence which is thought never to have happened before.

The man, from Sheffield, has been prosecuted by Sheffield City Council after illegally sub-letting his council home and then evicting the tenant using force.

Rami Nazzal, 35, pleaded guilty at a hearing at Sheffield Magistrates Court last week.

He rented the home for six months before forcing his tenant out following an argument.

The 'rogue landlord' was fined £1,923 - including £250 compensation paid to the tenant - and a victim surcharge of £15.

“He told me it was his own property. He lied to me. I didn’t know he was a council tenant," said the victim, Ata Allah Alalawi, who moved to Sheffield to study.

When Alalawi told Nazzal he wanted to move out, the landlord started asking for extra rent and began to throw the tenant's possessions around.

Alalawi claims Nazzal grabbed him and forced him out of the property, threatening to withold his possessions if he called the police. 

Sheffield City Council’s housing team is now undertaking legal proceedings to evict Nazzal from his council home.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for housing at Sheffield City Council, said: “This person was breaking the law on two accounts – by illegally sub-letting his rented home and by forcing an eviction.  This has been recognised by the courts and I hope it sends a strong message that rogue landlords will not be tolerated.”

“We want people to be able to live in good, safe housing, where their rights are respected." 

“Thankfully most letting agents and landlords in Sheffield are very good. But we will take firm action on the minority that are not,” she added.

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    Is the Councillor, Jayne Dunn, suggesting that the Council House was not good, safe housing? The alleged 'rogue landlord' was a Council Tenant sub-letting his Council House - don't think that suggests he's a landlord, rogue or otherwise!

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    I agree Helen he is a rogue and not a landlord. It is good safe housing but if the sub tenant were a legal tenant the safety of the house still does not come into question.

     
  • Jon Wilson

    The interesting part of this case being that it was an illegal eviction because to my mind by the granting of exclusive occupation to the sub tenant this was legally a 'tenancy' . I could be wrong and there's no other point to my comment but to ponder if in actual fact he was a landlord by default by legal definition. Interesting but awful scenario (for the victim especially)

  • Jon Wilson

    Thanks for that informed response Bob. You referred to recent legislation and I wondered if you could specify which legislation?? It's not a test I'm genuinely interested as I have encountered this scenario in a professional capacity a few times.

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