An Oxford landlord with a history of criminal and non-compliant behaviour was given a six-month custodial sentence for a series of housing offences at Oxford Magistrate’s Court on 25 April 2018.
Earlier this month, the Court had found Miss Sandhya Anand guilty of harassing and unlawfully evicting her tenants, operating an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), and obstructing Council officers who were carrying out their duties. The Court sentenced her to six months in prison, which was suspended for 18 months, and ordered her to pay £13,467 in costs to the City Council and £115 victim surcharge.
The Court heard that Miss Anand (51) persistently harassed her three tenants at her property in York Place, Oxford, for five months after an inspection by the City Council’s HMO Enforcement team in October 2016. She repeatedly let herself into their home without notice using her own key and removed the deadbolts to the front and back doors so that she could come and go at will. She also threatened to carry out unnecessary and disruptive building works while the tenants were at home and moved members of her family into the property to create an unpleasant and hostile atmosphere.
Finally, on 17 March 2017, Miss Anand locked one of her tenants out of his home and refused to let him back in. He became homeless and was forced to sleep on a friend’s floor for several months.
Miss Anand was found guilty of nine housing offences on 12 April 2018, including three charges of criminal harassment under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 (PFE), attempted and actual unlawful eviction under the PFE, controlling or managing a property let as a house in multiple occupation without a license, obstruction of a council officer attempting to carry out his duties under the Housing Act 2004, and two charges relating to failure to provide information required by the council. The Court noted that Miss Anand’s response to the City Council’s investigation was to become “aggressive and obstructive”, and that “she then attempted to manipulate the justice system.”
Miss Anand has a long history of this type of criminal and non-compliant behaviour. In April 2010 she was found guilty of criminal harassment and unlawful eviction under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and she was successfully prosecuted for failure to return a requisition for information in November 2013.
Ian Wright, Oxford City Council’s Environmental Health Service Manager, said: “The Council welcomes the custodial sentence handed to Miss Anand, given the seriousness of her offences and her record as a previous offender. Although her prison sentence has been suspended for 18 months, we believe it will nonetheless serve as an effective deterrent against any repeat offences in future. We’re committed to enforcing compliance with housing rules to protect tenants from unfair and illegal treatment by landlords, while also ensuring that private rented sector properties comply with acceptable housing standards.”