On the 16 March last, landlord Marlene Goodland unlawfully entered here privately rented house in Ruan Highlanes, Truro with a locksmith and changed the locks to the external doors preventing her tenant from entering a locking the family possessions inside.
Miss Goodland forcibly took back possession of the premises within the initial 6 months rental term, 6 months being the minimum term before a landlord can legally seek possession for an assured shorthold tenancy.
Following a report to the Council by the tenant, and an investigation by Cornwall Council’s Private Sector Housing team, Cornwall Council successfully prosecuted Miss Goodland of Chy-An-Bowjy, Ruan High Lanes, Truro under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 on the basis that Goodland had committed a criminal offence.
At Truro Magistrates Court on the 13 December 2016, Marlene Goodland was found guilty of unlawfully depriving a tenant of their occupation of ‘The Hideaway’, Ruan Highlanes, Truro. The Magistrates sentenced Miss Goodland to a 12 month Conditional Discharge and ordered her to pay costs of £4321.80 to the Council.
Stuart Kenney from Cornwall Councils Private Sector Housing Team said:
“The defendant informed the Court that she believed that the tenant had vacated the premises at the time that she took possession. The landlord did not follow any lawful process before making the decision to enter the premises with a locksmith, change the locks and take over possession. However, the Court found that she did not have a reasonable basis to believe that the property had been vacated. Taking over possession without following a lawful process is a risky business and in this case has resulted in a criminal conviction for the landlord and substantial costs and legal expenses.”
Cornwall Council cabinet member for housing and the environment Joyce Duffin said:
“Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that an eviction follows a lawful process. Cornwall Council is committed to protecting the rights of private tenants and will take action where necessary to protect them. The only lawful method for a landlord to take possession is by obtaining a court order. In this case this was not done and the end result is a criminal conviction.
“Cornwall Council is committed to supporting landlords and has created a voluntary registration scheme called the “Cornwall Responsible Landlords Scheme” that is designed to assist landlords with their legal responsibilities. The Council also strongly recommends that landlords join a recognised local or national landlords association”.
Cornwall Council takes action over illegal eviction https://t.co/E7g4RDCe95
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) December 21, 2016