Local councils are cracking down on rogue landlords through illegal eviction prosecutions, after being criticised for not using powers they already have.
Local Councils Cracking Down on Rogue Landlords
The Local Government Association (LGA) reports that four councils have achieved successful prosecutions in just one month.
However, the LGA is calling for the legal process to be sped up, in order to bring more cases to court more quickly.
Two of the landlords in recent cases just avoided jail after they illegally evicted tenants out of their homes without following the correct procedure.
The most recent prosecutions include the following cases:
- In Birmingham, a landlord has been prosecuted for illegally evicting a couple and their seven children from his property by changing the locks and forcing the family to live in the garage. The landlord was fined over £2,000.
- Also in Birmingham, a landlord was ordered to pay more than £5,000 after illegally evicting a mother and her 11-year-old son by putting their belongings in the garden and changing the locks. When the tenant regained access through a locksmith, the landlord had the locks drilled out, leaving the mother too scared to stay in the property.
- A landlord in Lincolnshire received a suspended prison sentence after a tenant returned to their flat to find the locks had been changed and some of their possessions had been removed. The landlord claimed that he believed the tenant had left the property.
- In Middlesbrough, a landlord was handed a 12-month community order after forcing her way into a property, evicting a family with young children and shoving their possessions into black bags.
- Finally, a landlord in Manchester was fined £3,500 after illegally evicting a family and making them homeless.
The Government recently announced plans for a £5m fund to help councils tackle rogue landlords. Additionally, the Housing and Planning Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, includes a proposal for maximum fines of £30,000.
However, it can take over a year to prosecute rogue landlords, causing many tenants financial and emotional difficulty. The LGA hopes this process will be accelerated.