A landlord who left a pregnant woman "effectively homeless" after an illegal eviction has been prosecuted.
Juliet Matorerwa pleaded guilty to unlawfully evicting her lodger at Bristol Crown Court, and has been given an overnight curfew as well as being ordered to pay almost £7,000 in compensation and costs.
Matorerwa of Hollybrook Park, Speedwell, rented a spare room in her home to a lodger on a fixed-term agreement for six months in 2019.
Following a breakdown in their relationship, the court heard Ms Matorerwa harassed the tenant - who was pregnant - before evicting her in October 2019.
The eviction happened before their contractual agreement came to an end and left the vulnerable lodger effectively homeless.
Following a complaint to Bristol City Council’s Rogue Landlord Unit, an investigation into the eviction was opened and the team brought a prosecution against Matorerwa, under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
Sentencing Matorerwa, Judge Hart said: “You behaved in an inappropriate way towards her and evicted her 11 days prior to the date in which her occupation was due to end.
The way in which it happened was wholly unacceptable. This case demonstrates that the city council in Bristol will take people’s housing rights seriously regardless of whether there is a long-standing tenant or short-term lodger.
"Such rights should not be interfered with.”
Alongside the compensation and costs, Matorerwa is not allowed to leave her house between 8pm and 6am for the next three months, as part of her sentence.
'Message to landlords'
Tom Gilchrist, Bristol City Council’s Private Housing Service Manager, said: "The message to all residential landlords in Bristol is, your lodgers do have rights.
"You need to follow the correct legal procedure for any eviction. If not, our officers will, if appropriate, take enforcement action to ensure tenants’ rights are upheld."
Illegal eviction and harassment of tenants and lodgers are serious criminal offences.
Bristol City Council says if you are the victim of an illegal eviction, you should contact their Rogue Landlord Unit on 0117 3525010 or visit their website.