Council secures successful prosecution against private letting agent Principal Homes who unlawfully evicted tenant

Published: Wednesday, 27th October 2021

Birmingham City Council has successfully prosecuted a private letting agent after they unlawfully evicted a tenant

Principal Homes are a letting and managing agent based at 562 Walsall Road, Great Barr, Birmingham, B42 1LR.

Following a trial they were found guilty under Section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 of unlawfully evicting Natalia Szergejev from her tenancy in Gravelly Lane, Erdington, Birmingham, B23 6LR in June 2019.

Principal Homes were fined £10,000 and a victim surcharge of £170, ordered to pay prosecution costs totalling £3084.62 and compensation to Ms Szergejev of £1053.97.

Ms Szergejev has been the tenant at Gravelly Lane since June 2017 and had gone abroad in January 2019 to study with the intention of returning to her flat. She had told Principal Homes of her plans and had agreed for a joint tenant to pay the rent in her absence. The rent due in May 2019 was not paid by the joint tenant who had left the property. When she was told the rent had not been paid Ms Szergejev paid the rent and corresponded with Principal Homes by text and email informing them of her intention to return at short notice to the flat.

On arrival at the flat on 15 June 2019, Ms Szergejev was unable to gain access to her flat as the lock had been changed.

Councillor Hussain, Cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods, said ‘The fine is an excellent result given the level of penalties in other recent similar cases. We hope it sends a clear signal to all private landlords about their responsibilities and that they must keep within the law. We have just launched a 10 week consultation about introducing a selective licensing scheme for private landlords and would encourage people to respond to that. More details can be found on our consultation website.

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