A LANDLORD who illegally evicted his tenant did so in a ‘deliberate and unscrupulous’ manner.

A lengthy investigation was conducted into the actions of Adil Lahmer by Warrington Borough Council’s private sector housing and legal services teams.

This came after the tenant came to the Homelessness and Housing Advice Service for help after being unlawfully evicted by the 38-year-old from a property on Watkin Street in Orford.

He found that his belongings had been removed and that the locks to the property had been changed.

Initially, Lahmer stated he wanted to occupy the property to self-isolate as he was returning from Germany, but it was later found that he wanted to stay in the property.

The defendant, now of no fixed abode, originally denied the truth of the housing arrangement with the tenant and stated that the tenancy agreement that was signed was a forgery, but this was later found out not to be the case.

Lahmer was brought before Liverpool Crown Court after being convicted of a charge of unlawfully depriving a residential occupier of a premises.

Recorder Richard Leiper stated that the offence committed was a ‘deliberate act’ which had been ‘planned in advance’.

It was also committed in breach of a written agreement, and the day after a rent payment for December had been made by the tenant. 

He also said that the defendant may not have been aware of the seriousness of the offence and may well not be a commercial landlord, however he had done very little to mitigate his culpability.

An aggravating factor was the defendant’s position from the outset that the tenancy agreement was a forgery, when this was not the case.

While Lahmer told the court that he was remorseful, that was not reflected in his account to the Probation Service, with his account differing from the evidence in the case.

The court also heard that the harm to the victim was considerable, through him losing his job, his studies being affected and the company which he had recently set up was subsequently dissolved. 

There was also an impact upon his relationship with his children, and he lost most of his personal possessions.

Lahmer was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months.

He must also undertake 150 hours of unpaid work, as well as pay £541 in compensation to the victim in respect of rent paid and £1,000 in court costs.

The sentence was welcomed by Cllr Hitesh Patel, the council’s cabinet member for environment, housing and public protection.

He said: “This is a fantastic outcome after the hard work that has been put in by our housing and legal teams.

“This should also serve as a warning for other unscrupulous landlords that this behaviour is not acceptable.

“If you are a private tenant and are illegally evicted, then the council may be able to assist with finding you alternative accommodation, negotiating with the landlord on your behalf, or even supporting a prosecution against your landlord if there is sufficient evidence.”

For more information on the council’s Homelessness and Housing Advice Service, visit warrington.gov.uk/conflict-home