A landlord has been fitted with an electronic tag after a “campaign of harassment” against a tenant that including switching off her heating and electricity in the middle of winter.
Joel Zwiebel who waged a campaign of harassment and intimidation against single mother Angela Agyemang received the electronic tagging order after losing an appeal last month against a conviction for illegal eviction.
Miss Agyemang incurred Zwiebel’s ire after she complained that damp conditions, leaks and serious disrepair in her south London flat were damaging her son’s health.
After Mr Zwiebel and his company refused to carry out repairs, Miss Agyemang began withholding her rent prompting Zwiebel to begin eviction proceedings. Zwiebel finally locked her out of the flat with all her possessions inside leaving the pair homeless and forced to find temporary accommodation.
At this point the council intervened and negotiated a compromise agreement in which she would pay the rent she owed and he would carry out the necessary repairs.
However within days Mr Zweibel reneged on the deal. Instead of fixing the defects he sent Mr Stuart – who had previously been the subject of a BBC Rogue Traders investigation – to the property who switched off the gas and electricity supply even though it was the middle of winter.
A few days later Miss Agyemang returned to the flat to find the locks had been changed and she could no longer enter her home. It took her 18 months to eventually regain her possessions, most of which had by that stage either disappeared or been broken.
Zwiebel, of Hackney, and his property company Interpage, were found guilty last November of harassment and carrying out an illegal eviction in a case brought by Wandsworth Council at Wimbledon magistrates court.
In February, Mr Zwiebel and Interpage lost their bid to overturn the magistrates court conviction and sentencing when their appeals were thrown out by a judge at Kingston Crown Court.
On Monday this week, the judge imposed a stiffer sentence against Mr Zwiebel. Zwiebel was ordered to wear an ankle tag and comply with an overnight curfew for three months between the hours of 9pm and 7am. He was also ordered to pay £4,000 in costs and £1,000 compensation to his victim. Interpage Limited was fined £4,000 plus costs of £3,500 and £1,000 in compensation.
For his role in the eviction, Mr Stuart, from Newham, was fined £1,500, with £2,500 costs and also ordered to pay a further £1,000 in compensation.
Wandsworth’s housing spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis said: “This was an utterly appalling display by these men. They waged a disgraceful and unforgivable campaign of harassment against this mother and her son.
“To switch off their gas and electricity in the middle of winter showed a shocking lack of compassion so I am pleased the court has upheld these convictions and imposed a stiffer sentence against Mr Zwiebel and his company.
“Let this case and its outcome serve as a salutary warning to other landlords thinking of following the same illegal path.”
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