Crawley Buy to Let Property Investor Fined for Illegally Evicting Tenants

A Crawley buy to let property investor has been fined after being found guilty of illegal eviction, having discarded his tenants possessions and changed the locks of her rental property.

Mitesh Patel, 44, of Chanctonbury Way, Southgate, Crawley, was fined £1,700 for his offence. He had dumped the possessions of his tenants, a couple he was attempting to evict, on the lawn outside their rented flat. He had also changed the locks to the property to prevent them from returning.

Mr Patel was also ordered to pay costs of £3,000 for the offence, as well as £300 in compensation at Horsham Magistrates’ Court on December 18 for illegally evicting the Crawley couple from their home in his property. He was found guilty of breaching the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Crawley Borough Council explained that the couple had approached the council in order to report the eviction. The pair had returned to their rented property in February 2017, and were greeted with the sight of their possessions on the lawn outside their flat. They then discovered that the locks had been changed. Not only did the actions of Mr Patel breach eviction law, they were also caused serious distress to the tenants through his improper actions.

Mr Patel had pleaded not guilty to the breach of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 in front of the court.

Crawley Borough Council has since helped the evicted couple to find alternative privately rented accommodation. This was done through the council’s ‘Rent Deposit Scheme.’

Council leader Peter Lamb spoke out about the case after the hearing. He commented: ‘Rogue landlords cannot just evict privately rented tenants whenever they want. They must follow the correct legislation and issue notices in the right way. Landlords who break the law now know that we are serious about protecting tenants’ rights.’