Landlord fined for evicting pregnant woman and leaving her possessions on street


Lidia Szopinska was found guilty of unlawfully depriving the couple of their occupation of the premises on Townsend Street, Cheltenham, a charge she had denied

The house Szopinska let to Demi-Leigh Shaw and Silas Morphew was in Townsend Street, Cheltenham
The house Szopinska let to Demi-Leigh Shaw and Silas Morphew was in Townsend Street, Cheltenham

A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay £3,750 in fines, costs and compensation after illegally evicting a young pregnant woman and her partner from their accommodation in Cheltenham.

Lidia Szopinska, of Arlington Road, Camden, London, let a room in a house she owned on Townsend Street, Cheltenham, to Demi-Leigh Shaw and Silas Morphew for a period of 9 months from May 2019.

According to a Cheltenham Borough Council spokesperson, relations between the landlord and her tenants worsened when the latter announced they wanted to leave early, with Szopinska making allegations of breaches of the tenancy.

“The couple had agreed to leave the property on 19 August 2019 but on 14 July 2019, when they returned after having been to visit relatives, they found their possessions on the street and the landlord present,” the spokesperson said,

At a hearing on 8th November this year, Cheltenham Magistrates concluded that Szopinska did illegally evict the couple.

They found Ms Szopinska, 57, guilty of unlawfully depriving the couple of their occupation of the premises – a charge she had denied.

“It is a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 for any person to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his /her household, or to persistently withdraw or withhold services reasonably required for the occupation of the premises as a residence with the intent of causing the residential occupier to give up occupation of the property,” the spokesperson said.

Cheltenham Magistrates concluded that Szopinska did illegally evict the couple

Cllr Martin Horwood, council member for regulatory services, said council would not tolerate the harassment or illegal eviction of private tenants.

He said: “We are committed to ensuring that all private landlords operate on a level playing field and officers will support those who operate professionally, while taking enforcement action against rogue landlords.”

Mark Nelson, enforcement manager, said: “When relationships break down between tenants and landlords there are strict legal processes that have to be followed and council officers are here to help both sides move forward.

“No landlord can act outside the law and we will do everything in our power to ensure tenants can live in rented properties safe in the knowledge that we are there to protect them from illegal eviction.”

Ms Szopinska was fined £180 and ordered to pay the sum of £2010 towards the costs of the prosecution.

She was also ordered to pay compensation of £780 each to Mr Morphew and Ms Shaw for the distress of the eviction, the non-return of their deposit, rent repayment and the loss of a bag containing a laptop and other important items, stolen from outside of the property.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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