A lettings agency has been prosecuted by Birmingham council for unlawfully evicting a tenant.
Principal Homes is based at Great Barr and was found guilty under Section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 of unlawfully evicting Natalia Szergejev from her tenancy in Erdington in June 2019.
Principal Homes was fined £10,000 and a victim surcharge of £170, ordered to pay prosecution costs totalling £3084.62 and compensation to Szergejev of £1053.97.
Szergejev had been the tenant since June 2017 and had gone abroad in January 2019 to study with the intention of returning to her flat.
She had told Principal Homes of her plans and had agreed for a joint tenant to pay the rent in her absence.
The rent due in May 2019 was not paid by the joint tenant who had left the property. When she was told the rent had not been paid Szergejev paid herself and corresponded with Principal Homes by text and email informing the firm of her intention to return at short notice to the flat.
On arrival in June 2019, Szergejev was unable to gain access as the lock had been changed.
Councillor Hussain, the council member responsible for homes, says: “The fine is an excellent result given the level of penalties in other recent similar cases.
“We hope it sends a clear signal to all private landlords about their responsibilities and that they must keep within the law.
“We have just launched a 10 week consultation about introducing a selective licensing scheme for private landlords and would encourage people to respond to that.”