Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has successfully prosecuted a private landlord for the unlawful eviction of a tenant from privately rented accommodation at an address in Coleraine.
On Friday, 1 September 2023, Coleraine Magistrates Court – sitting at Ballymena Courthouse – heard that on the approach to Christmas in December 2019, the tenant contacted Council stating their landlord had changed the locks and refused to provide a key to allow the tenant and their young family to return to the property and access their belongings.
During Council’s investigation the landlord, Mr Ivan Eakin, claimed the family had vacated the property. Council Environmental Health officials advised the landlord of the due process of law to obtain vacant possession of a property and asked that he reconsider his position and provide a key to the tenant. This was declined despite repeated requests.
Illegal eviction of a tenant is an offence under Article 54(1) of The Rent (NI) Order 1978 as amended by Article 60 of The Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006.
The court handed down a fine of £850 and Mr Eakin was also ordered to pay costs of £258 together with an offender levy of £15.
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghan said: “Council’s Environmental Health Department is readily available to provide advice and guidance to both tenants and landlords on the laws relating to private tenancies. Council is committed to upholding the legal rights of tenants living in private rented accommodation.
“This prosecution sends a clear message that failing to follow due process of law when ending a tenancy will not be tolerated by Council and this court ruling reflects the seriousness of the offence of illegal eviction.”