A Clacton landlord has been issued with a 12-month community service order for illegally evicting a family from their rental property.
Lisa Bottone, of Costswold Road, was convicted after admitting to breaching the Protection from Eviction Act when she appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court last Thursday. She was issued with a 12-month community service order which came with a rehabilitation requirement of 20 days. Ms Bottone was then ordered to pay costs of £75 to the victim, Regina Dewar.
The case was prosecuted by Tendring Council. The council reported that Miss Dewar had signed a 12-month tenancy agreement on September 13 last year, enabling her to live at the Clacton property. The council had agreed to pay the rent and deposit. However, just a week later, Ms Bottone visited her tenant to inform her that she could no longer move into the home.
Miss Dewar was advised by council officers that Ms Bottone would have to go through the correct eviction procedure, however this did not occur, and Miss Dewar arrived at the property on September 22 to find that her entry was barred.
Two council officers attended the move-in date and spoke to Ms Bottone, yet she refused to change her position. This led to the council taking measures to enforce the breach of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
Council housing boss Paul Honeywood aims to use the case as a deterrent to other landlords. He said: ‘We came to a conclusion that in this instance the landlord did not have a reasonable cause to stop Miss Dewar’s occupation of the property. It was felt to be in the public interest to enforce the legislation to avoid homelessness and prevent other incidents occurring. Where there is sufficient evidence we will not hesitate to take action over illegal evictions – and that should be a warning to all. I welcome this prosecution and hope that it sends a clear message.’