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Agency pays high price for harassing tenants

letting agent fined

A letting agency has been ordered to pay nearly £69,000 for “abhorrent and vile” behaviour towards its tenants.

Hove-based SB Lets admitted three offences under the Protection from Eviction Act and was fined a total of £60,000 at Lewes Crown Court. Each of the three victims of harassment was awarded £8,000 in compensation to be paid out from the fines. It was also ordered to pay the Brighton & Hove Council £9,000 in legal costs.

The council estimates that including its own legal costs, the prosecution has cost the company approximately £119,000.

Intimidating manner

It took action against SB Lets last year following complaints from tenants about harassment. This included threats by email and phone for the occupier to move earlier than they needed, vexatious court proceedings against tenants and their guarantors, cutting off or reducing utility supplies, entering tenants’ homes and rooms without notice or permission, and behaving in an intimidating manner.

The Judge HHJ Judge Mooney was scathing in his comments about the behaviour of SB Lets, calling it abhorrent and vile. Shadi Baja, the sole director, will now be expected to step back from any day-to-day operations of the agency and make alternative management arrangements so he no longer has direct contact with any tenants.

Appalling case

Councillor Gill Williams, chair of the housing & new homes committee, says it was an appalling case of unacceptable behaviour towards tenants in their own homes. She adds: “The council led this prosecution as part of our role supporting any tenants treated unfairly. We are determined to take action to protect our residents from such abhorrent harassment.

“We’re happy that the sentencing reflects the severity of the case. It sends out a strong message that we will not tolerate landlords and letting agents acting unlawfully.”


Letting agent
Agent fined
Illegal eviction