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Prosecutions

This page will give details of prosecutions brought under the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 (and associated legislation) by local authorities. Please submit details for publication to a Committee member.

Prosecution Details

Sheffield City Council v Nazia Bibi

Defendant:

Nazia Bibi, dob 23 September 1981

Address 80 Beacon Road, Sheffield

Pleaded guilty to an offence that on 12 February 2016 defendant unlawfully deprived the residential occupier Mahboob Majidi of his occupation of the premises of 23 Wansfell Road, Sheffield.

Offence under Protection from Eviction Act 1977 s.1(2).

Paul Barber prosecuting for Sheffield City Council:

Mr Majidi moved in in June 2015

Generally pays rent but it’s late on occasions

Everything seems ok until Feb 2016

Mrs Bibi’s husband rings Mr Majidi & tells him he has to go then there is an intervention from her brother reinforcing the message.

On Sat 6 Feb Mr Majidi receives a message saying that the locks have been changed.

When Mr Majidid goes back to the property he is able to get in but finds Mrs Bibi already in the house.

Mr Majidi will not agree to move out.

The Police attend  and Mr Majidi signs a note saying he will leave.

In reaction to these incidents, the Council write to Mrs Bibi and speak to her.

The rights of landlord and tenant are explained to her and she is told that has to follow the right procedure and go through the courts to get her tenant to leave.

On 12 February 2016 at around 2.30pm, Mr Majidi arrives back home and finds his belongings outside of the house and the landlady and her family in the house somewhat mob handed.

There is an altercation with the landlord’s brother

Mr Majidi rings the Council and another Tenancy Relations Officer rings Mrs Bibi and tells her that she must let the tenant back in.

She refuses saying Mr Majidi would have to live with her if he returned to the house, and Mr Majidi has to leave, and try and friend a friend to stay with.

These offences are serious as they involve taking someone’s home from them without authority.

Mrs Bibi is of good character, isnt a professional landlord and acted out of character but she ignored the good advice of the Council.

Defence:

Pleaded guilty at first opportunity

As well as concern about rent, Mrs Bibi developed concerns about subletting

She gave a notice but accepts she didn’t follow the right procedure after that.

In some of the conversations she had with Mr Majidi, he was aggressive.

In January he said he would move out.

When the Police attended the incident when Mrs Bibi called round, Mr Majidi was irate

On 12 February Mrs Bibi was acting on emotion and financially in a difficiult position.

The decision to act as she did on the day of eviction came from the heart rather than her head.

She was emotional.

Magistrates:

This offence and the nature of it does cross the custody threshold.

However the sentence is being discounted because of the guilty plea.

It is therefore going to be reduced from a custodial to a community sentence.

Sentence:

200 hours unpaid work in the community

Full costs £1140

£60 victim surcharge

 

Birmingham City Council v Zahid Khan

Mr Zahid Khan age 30,  of Yardley Wood Road, Moseley, Birmingham was fined £2,000, with full costs of £5,070.93, ordered to  do 150 hours of community service and pay a victim surcharge at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 14 November 2016 after being found guilty to causing acts likely to interfere with his tenants’ peace and comfort  under Section 1(3A) of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, failure to obtain an HMO licence and breaching HMO Management Regulations.

Khan intimidated his tenants on 28 December 2015 together with an accomplice to make them leave the property and threatened to change the locks if they did not leave.  The property was unlicensed between 13 December 2014 and 28 December 2015 and breached HMO Management Regulations including insufficient smoke alarms, a tripping hazard on the stairs and general disrepair including a sparking electrical socket and holes in the ceiling.

Sheffield City Council v Nilendu Das

A private landlord in Sheffield has been prosecuted for harassing a tenant and failing to manage his property adequately.

Mr Nilendu Das, of Carterknowle Avenue and aged 49 years old, was convicted at Sheffield’s Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 14 March. He was ordered to pay £2,412 in court costs, fines and compensation to the tenant, and was ordered to undertake 180 hours of unpaid community work.

The court heard how Mr Das bombarded his tenant with a large number of text messages which disturbed him at night and while he was working, so much so that he feared he would get the sack. On one occasion Das sent ten messages in a three minute period and on another, 15 text messages throughout the day. Some of the texts told the tenant he must leave.

As well as pleading guilty of harassment in relation to a property on Cemetery Avenue, Das also pleaded guilty to four health and safety breaches relating to a home on Sackville Road, with tenants being put at an increased risk of harm by fire. The court heard that there were damaged fire doors, an unprotected means of fire escape and faulty fire alarm systems.

Sheffield City Council’s private housing team had previous dealings with Mr Das who has earlier convictions for failing to comply with an improvement notice and failure to manage properties correctly and two previous convictions for harassment in February 2012 and August 2013. On the last occasion he received a 49 day prison sentence.

The court costs and fines imposed on Mr Das on 14 March 2017 are made up of:

  • £200 for each of four health and safety breaches – totalling £800
  • £1,227 costs
  • £300 compensation to the tenant of 23 Cemetery Avenue.
  • £85 victim surcharge
  • Total cost to Mr Das £2412

R v Jay Allen and Razwan Mohammed , September 2012, Sheffield Crown Court
These were cases brought by Sheffield City Council under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. The charges were:
1) Jay Allen, Padley Way, Sheffield, S5 6LJ Contrary to s.1(3A) Protection from Eviction Act 1977: on the 24th May 2011, being the landlord of Christopher Blades, a residential occupier of Room 3, 68 Handsworth Road, Sheffield, did acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of Christopher Blades, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that those acts were likely to cause him to give up his occupation of the premises.
2) Razwan Mohammed, Orgreave Lane, Sheffield, S13 9NF Contrary to s1(3) Protection from Eviction Act 1977 on the 24th May 2011, did acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of Christopher Blades, a residential occupier of Room 3, 68 Handsworth Road, Sheffield, with intent to cause him to give up his occupation of the premises.

Outcome of trial
Sheffield Crown Court commencing 19 – 21 September and 26 September 2012.

Jury – both defendants found guilty – both majority verdicts 10:2
Sentences: Jay Allen 9 months custodial sentence, plus costs of £5, 755 to the Council to be paid within 6 months
R Mohammed: 6 months prison suspended for 1 year, plus 7 days electronic tag and curfew 7pm – 6am

Mr Allen appealed both sentence and verdict, this appeal being dismissed in the Court of Appeal on 17 April 2013 with further costs of £2, 550 being awarded to the prosecution.

Details of case
The victim, Christopher Blades, occupied a room under an assured shorthold tenancy at premises of which the appellant was the landlord. He also had the use of shared toilet and bathroom facilities in the building. He had taken up occupation paying rent in advance, but thereafter had failed to pay his rent.
On 24th May 2011 the appellant and his co‑accused went to the room occupied by Mr Blades. They banged on his door which he did not open immediately, but eventually he allowed them in. Anticipating trouble, Mr Blades had set up his mobile phone to record what happened. The jury had a transcript of what was said between the parties. It was not a complete transcript of events. It stopped at a point when Mr Allen became aware of some bottles containing urine within Mr Blades’ room. At that point the victim left the room and ceased recording so that he could try to obtain his solicitor. After that, he said he was physically ejected from the premises. He left in his bare feet with his trainers being thrown after him by the appellant. His keys were taken from him and he only subsequently obtained a key from Mr Allen’s agents in order to retrieve his belongings.
The transcript shows an aggressive approach by Mr Allen demanding rent forthwith or else Mr Blades would be ejected. Mr Allen was abusive and uncompromising. Based on the transcript, the Crown relied on five acts committed by the appellant: namely, a threat of immediate eviction, an expressed disregard for proper legal process in the face of the victim’s assertion of his rights, threats to pack up the victim’s belongings, telling him to leave in disregard of his rights as a tenant and telling him to leave that day.
Mr Allen did not deny that he had said the things recorded. His defence in essence was that his actions towards the victim were directed at obtaining the unpaid rent rather than at eviction. He accepted that he had ordered Mr Blades to leave the premises. He said that this was in order to procure the rent due. He did not have reasonable cause to believe that his actions were likely to cause Mr Blades to give up occupation. Mr Allen gave evidence to that effect and disputed aspects of the account given by Mr Blades.
In summing up the judge left to the jury whether Mr Allen’s admitted acts were likely to interfere with the peace and comfort of Mr Blades as an occupier. He further directed the jury that they could also take into account the co‑defendant’s act of forcible ejection of Mr Blades from the premises, if they so found, if they were sure that Mr Allen was part of an agreement to do so. The judge also left to the jury the issue, (which the Crown had to prove), of whether the appellant knew his acts were likely to cause the victim to give up occupation or if he had reasonable cause to believe that that was the case.