Council unit brings successful prosecution
A Bristol landlord has been placed under an overnight curfew in her home and ordered to pay just under £7,000 in compensation and costs after pleading guilty to unlawfully evicting her lodger, in a case brought by the city’s Rogue Landlord Unit.
The landlord, Juliet Matorerwa has been ordered to remain in her home between 8pm – 6am each day for the next three months after admitting illegally evicting the lodger under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, which makes the harassment and unlawful eviction of a residential occupier a criminal offence, during the case that was heard at Bristol Crown Court.
Ms Matorerwa, of Hollybrook Park, Speedwell, let a spare room in her home to a lodger on a fixed-term agreement for six months in 2019. Following a breakdown in their relationship, the court heard that Ms Matorerwa harassed the lodger, culminating in her eviction in October 2019 before their contractual agreement came to an end, leaving the vulnerable and pregnant lodger effectively homeless.
After a complaint, Bristol City Council’s Rogue Landlord Unit opened an investigation into the eviction and brought a prosecution against Ms Matorerwa.
Passing sentence, the judge, HHJ Hart, told Ms Matorerwa: “You behaved in an inappropriate way towards her and evicted her 11 days prior to the date in which her occupation was due to end.
“The way in which it happened was wholly unacceptable. This case demonstrates that the city council in Bristol will take people’s housing rights seriously regardless of whether there is a long-standing tenant or short-term lodger. Such rights should not be interfered with.”
Tom Gilchrist, Bristol City Council’s Private Housing Service Manager, said: “The message to all residential landlords in Bristol is, your lodgers do have rights. You need to follow the correct legal procedure for any eviction. If not, our officers will, if appropriate, take enforcement action to ensure tenants’ rights are upheld.’’
Illegal eviction and harassment of tenants and lodgers are serious criminal offences. If you are the victim of an illegal eviction, contact the Rogue Landlord Unit on 0117 3525010 or visit the page at the Bristol City Council website.