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Oxford Landlord Jailed

The Oxford City Council website has a news story stating that an Oxford landlord has been jailed for three months for unlawful eviction. We have very limited details as the story is sketchy (comments with more information welcome) but it seems that his case was not assisted by being arrested at an airport while on bail.

This is a little surprising as penalties for unlawful eviction have historically been almost laughable in their lack of severity. The average fine is normally in the order of £1000-2000 and custodial sentences are almost unheard of. Therefore this sentence either represents a case which is truly appalling, and this does not seem to be the case from the report on Oxford’s website, or courts are getting far tougher in their sentencing.

4 Comments

  • Stephen O'Neill 5th November 2010 at 11:09 am

    From what I can gather (from various reports) the landlord Geoffrey Dillon, of Burnt Tree, Tipton, who appeared at West Bromwich Magistrates Court on July 4 was accused by Sandwell Council that he entered a property where he was landlord in William Kerr Road, Dudley Port while his tenants were out shopping and he changed the locks.

    He was jailed for 10 weeks after being found guilty of unlawfully depriving his tenants of their occupation of his premises by the act of changing the locks of the property under Section 1(2) of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

    The court also heard that Mr Dillon attempted to keep their belongings in lieu of rent and said as there was no written tenancy agreement, he could do as he pleased.

    The council claimed the landlord was uncooperative and therefore officials had to force entry to the property to enable the tenants to retrieve their belongings, some of which were found to be missing.

    Additionally he refused to pay £4,400 compensation (unclear how that was calculated) and was sentenced to a further three month prison sentence.

  • A reputable letting agent 5th November 2010 at 11:10 am

    As a reputable agent in Oxford we can only applaud the authorities for taking a tougher stance on improper landlord and agent behaviour. We would welcome further tougher sanctions and convictions of people that bring a valuable service industry in to disrepute. How much longer can it be before licensing of both landlords and agents is introduced to save the public from this type of cowboy? Last week’s Panorama programme on BBC1 further highlighted the need for tenants (and landlords) to use a reputable agent that complies with legislation and guidelines.

  • Stephen O'Neill 8th November 2010 at 8:46 am

    The previous government; following the Rugg Review (a report into the private rented sector) proposed the establishment of a national register of landlords, regulation of letting and managing agents, and compulsory written tenancy agreements. All were scrapped because this would introduce too much additional red tape.

    I heard a rumour about a few authorities creating local letting agencies and landlord forums, where councils and good landlords work together to help local people find better-quality homes in the private rented sector, which can only be a good thing -but no news yet on whether they were set up or how they are working.

    • PainSmith 9th November 2010 at 12:26 am

      Some London authorities have entered into agreements with lettings agencies or set up their own. Interestingly some university student unions have also set up their own lettings agencies.

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