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Community service for 'heartless' letting agent who illegally evicted family with baby

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Community service for 'heartless' letting agent who illegally evicted family with baby

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Community service for 'heartless' letting agent who illegally evicted family with baby Community service for 'heartless' letting agent who illegally evicted family with baby

A callous letting agent who waged a war of intimidation against a family living in a Newham property he managed, has been given a suspended prison sentence and told to complete 120 hours of community service.​

Sajaid Shaukat, from Bow, was found guilty in December at Inner London Crown Court, of causing an illegal eviction. He appeared for sentence on 17 January and was given a five-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months on condition that he completes 120 hours community service. He must also pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs.

Shaukat was prosecuted by Newham Council under the Protection of Eviction Act 1977 after a tenant in a flat in Green Street that he managed, approached the local authority for help because he had been illegally evicted.

The court heard the tenant had an assured short-hold tenancy for the property and had lived there since August 2009 with his wife and 18-month-old son. However, the family had to quit the property after they began to receive threatening texts from Shaukat. The gas meter and electricity was also disconnected by a handyman who worked for Shaukat and the landlord.

In December 2013, the tenant successfully sued the landlord at Bow County Court for £7,000 in damages. This was because the landlord disposed of the tenant’s personal belongings from the property, which included his wedding photographs and other sentimental items.

Newham Council is currently checking all letting agencies in the borough to ensure they are operating in line with fair trading practises and comply with the consumer rights law. This is linked to Newham’s successful borough-wide property licensing scheme, which was introduced in January 2013.

Councillor Andrew Baikie, executive member for housing and customer service, said: “This was an appalling case which caused great distress to the victims and demonstrates the necessity of our private sector licensing scheme.

"This couple and their baby were forced from their home by this heartless agent’s deliberate actions, losing items of great sentimental value which cannot be replaced.

“Our ground-breaking licensing scheme is helping us to tackle poor standards in the private rented sector and focus our enforcement action on the minority of unscrupulous landlords who refuse to comply with the law.

"However as this case shows, we also need to look at the practices of some of the letting agents operating in the borough. Newham Council will not tolerate this kind of criminal behaviour and we will prosecute any letting agent or landlord we find treating their tenants in such a despicable way."

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