Landlords fined for illegal evictions

In one case, the tenants were locked out of their home without warning, had all their belongings confiscated, and were left to wander the streets in only the clothes they were standing in. That night they were forced to sleep rough under the awning of a street flower seller’s stall.

Malik, of Chiswick, who was the landlord in this particular case, was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £750 costs after a jury at Kingston Crown Court took just 20 minutes to convict him.

Mahandran, of Sudbury Hill, Harrow, was convicted at South Western magistrates court and fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £4,274 towards the council’s prosecution costs.

Housing spokesman Cllr Guy Senior said: "These innocent tenants were subjected to absolutely unacceptable treatment by their landlords. As a result these landlords have landed themselves with criminal records.

"Landlords should be under no illusion. We will simply not tolerate them bullying their tenants in this way.

"If you are a landlord and you would like a tenant to leave then you simply must go through the proper legal channels and get any eviction order via the courts.

"Any tenant who is threatened with an illegal eviction or harassment should contact the council’s housing department straight away."

Kingston Crown Court heard that Mr Malik rented a flat in Replingham Road, Southfields, to a trainee accountant and his wife. Although the couple paid their rent in full and on time, Mr Malik changed the locks to their home without warning and removed some – but not all of their belongings – from the flat.

That night, with nowhere else to go, the couple were forced to take shelter under a flower stall in Replingham Road.

The court was told that it took another two days before Mr Malik returned some of the couple’s possessions he had removed from the flat – but another day passed before he returned other valuables including two laptops, a hard drive, credit cards and the couple’s passports. At this point he also repaid the £170 advance rent he had taken from them only three days earlier.

The case involving Mr Mahendran related to a property in Ibsley Gardens, Roehampton which had been advertised on the Gumtree website.

After moving in, the tenant, a postgraduate student, complained to Mr Mahendran about the poor state of the property, and asked that items like a faulty washing machine, shower, smoke alarm and broken window be repaired.

In response Mr Mahendran emailed the tenant informing him that he had to leave. A few days later the tenant returned to his flat late in the evening to find that the locks had been changed. Deprived of his belongings and with nowhere else to stay, the tenant was forced to spend the night in the computer work room at his university.

Two days later Mr Mahendran met the tenant to allow him to remove his belongings and to return his £180 deposit.

Both sets of tenants contacted the council’s housing aid office to complain about their treatment. These complaints led to both landlords being prosecuted for breaches of housing law.

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2 thoughts on “Landlords fined for illegal evictions

  1. Ian Roberts

    I am the tenant who was illegally evicted by Mr Mahendran and I wonder if I could correct a few points of what is otherwise a superb article.

    I did not spend a night in my University’s computer workroom but in a bed and breakfast hotel on the Belgrave Road in Belgravia. I had gone to my University to find out the number of Wandworth council’s housing emergency phone number and to send an email of protest to Mr Mahendran. Also I was not permitted at any time to re-enter the flat to gather my belongings. Mr Mahendran had my belongings packed and sent to the workplace of one of my friends. At the meeting a few days afterwards, Mr Mahendran gave me back my deposit & bed and breakfast charges.

  2. Major Landlord

    As a professional landlord who cares passionately about fair treatment of both tenants and landlords, I have to say I have nothing but the deepest sympathy for this tenant, and nothing but the utmost contempt for these two criminals, who not only disgrace themselves but all decent landlords.

    A criminal record and fine are not enough in cases like this. The offenders should be debarred from ever letting property to tenants again, and should be made to sell. This is a prime example of why licencing of landlords is essential, so that offenders can have their licences revoked. I don’t understand why my own association, the NLA, is so against it. In my view, you would only resist such a move if you have something to fear or to hide.

    Ian: I hope this has not persuaded you that all landlords are like this: we are not. Congratulations on your result, and I hope it has done something to negate the anger and anxiety you must have suffered.

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