A COMPANY landlord who changed the locks while their tenant was not in the property — leaving them homeless — has been fined more than £1,500
Director Peter Krempels, (66), of Residential Investments Ltd, pleaded guilty on October 23 to unlawfully depriving tenant Jason Barker occupation of his premises on January 11, 2018.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Barker contacted Rotherham Council’s homelessness team to tell them his landlords had changed the locks to his property at Hollings Lane, Thrybergh, without warning.
When the council investigated, it found that although the company had served a notice on the tenant, it had failed to obtain a possession order from the courts, making the eviction unlawful.
After the company was informed that its actions were unlawful by the council, the firm did not allow the tenant access to his home until the evening of January 15 — four days after the locks had been changed.
Mr Krempels was interviewed and confirmed that he owned and managed between 100 and 140 properties. He said that neither he nor his staff had received formal training on housing matters and that the company did not have procedures around the legal eviction of tenants, or procedures on how to reclaim a property from tenants who were in rent arrears.
The Kettering-based company was ordered to pay a £1,000 fine, costs of £511 and a £100 victim surcharge.
Cllr Dominic Beck, Rotherham Council;s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “I hope this case sends a strong message to landlords that the correct procedures must be followed and that it is totally unacceptable to leave people in a situation where they are locked out of their homes and left homeless like this.”
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