Can a landlord turn a tenant’s electricity off?

When a landlord switched off his tenants’ electricity, leaving them without heating, hot water, lighting or cooking facilities, in a bid to try and evict them from his flat, he felt he was acting well within his rights.

Landlord Norman Porter had leased out his private flat in Lee Smith Street, off Hedon Road, east Hull, but after a while he decided he wanted his property back.

But after his tenants refused to move out, he took the law into his own hands and sought to interfere with the peace and comfort of those residing his flat.

However, Porter’s decision to switch off the electricity supply to the property proved costly because ultimately he had not followed the correct eviction procedures.

He was fined £410, plus costs of £440 to the council and a victim surcharge of £41, at Hull Magistrates Court earlier this month for committing acts which intended to cause his tenants to give up the occupation of the premises.

Councillor Steve Black, portfolio holder for housing at Hull City Council, said: “Anybody taking on the role of landlord needs to be fully aware of their responsibilities under the law. There is a legal process that must be followed to evict a tenant rather than the landlord resorting to unacceptable, unlawful behaviour.

“As a council, our role is to ensure that tenants’ rights are protected in cases such as this. Most landlords in the city have regard for tenants’ rights and we receive relatively few complaints about harassment or illegal eviction in comparison to those of disrepair and poor housing condition.

“However, we are starting to see more, therefore I hope that this prosecution will send out a message to landlords that they need to act within the law or face the consequences.”

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Written by: Houseladder