Judge slams ‘arrogant’ landlord after illegal eviction of tenant during Covid

An NHS doctor has been ordered to pay nearly £9,000 for illegally evicting her tenant at the height of the pandemic after he challenged a rent increase.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that Amy Eskander rented a bedroom out in her two-bedroom flat on Station Road (pictured) in Kenilworth between February 2019 and September 2020 and kept the other locked.

She tried to argue that she shared this flat as her principal or only home, which would not have afforded him legal protection from eviction.

But Eskander had signed an assured shorthold tenancy at a property in London and provided evidence in official documents that this was her home.

Text message

When the tenant said he was unable to afford a rent increase in June 2020, Eskander sent him a text message telling him to leave by 12th August.

He continued to pay rent but on 18th September he received a text saying she had changed the locks and removed his possessions.

The court heard that Warwick District Council had previously advised her to serve a legal notice, but instead Recorder Brand KC told Eskander she had “displayed an arrogance which was unattractive”.

He added: “In his last few weeks he had no heating or hot water, and while you did not cause this you did little to help it.”

Advance rent

The landlord had also kept the tenant’s deposit and advance rent and insisted that the case be held at crown court, where the Recorder said the tenant’s credibility had been challenged.

“During that trial you repeatedly lied and made false accusations that (the tenant) had been threatening towards you. I have seen little or no sign of genuine remorse from you.”

Eskander was fined £2,000, ordered to pay £3,600 compensation to the tenant and pay costs of £3,000 to Warwick District Council plus a victim surcharge of £190.

She got off relatively lightly – previous landlords found to have evicted tenants without following due process have been given a suspended jail sentence as well as fines.

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