22 Nov 2021

A couple have been fined over £13,000 after they were found guilty of unlawfully evicting four tenants and breaching management regulations on a property they rented out in London.

Landlords Stephen Kayode Rotimi and his wife Fadeke Rotimi not only removed the means to top up the gas and electric meters, but they also changed the locks on the property so tenants were unable to get back in.

Mr Rotimi also breached several housing regulations on the property at 103 Maplestead Road, Dagenham, including failing to display the landlord contact information; ensure an up-to-date electrical certificate was available; maintain and ensure the internal structure is in good repair; and ensure adequate refuse disposal facilitiesThe evictions came about after a tenant approached Barking and Dagenham council staff in October 2019 and told them that when he had returned from work and tried to open the front door, but his keys didn’t work. He advised officers that he had a tenancy agreement and paid his rent via bank transfer.

The tenants at the property, included some with significant medical conditions, which worsened by being locked out and unable to access key medication.

The council’s enforcement team visited the property numerous times and even after explaining the situation repeatedly, Mr Rotimi continued to deny the allegations and said all four of the occupants had left voluntarily.

Councillor Margaret Mullane says: “We’re more than happy for private landlords to operate in the borough, but they must follow the rules set and this individual certainly hasn’t. He knew some of his tenants personally, but still failed to provide suitable housing for them even though they paid their rent and then ultimately illegally evicted them.

“In Barking and Dagenham, all private landlords much be registered with the council, so we can ensure that they are following the regulations in place.”

Mr Rotimi was found guilty of unlawful eviction and breach of management regulations and was ordered to pay a total of £13,474 – that is, £2,000 for each eviction, £700 for breach of management regulations, and prosecutions costs of £4,574.

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