A heartless city landlord who left his tenants homeless after breaking into their house at night with a hammer has been prosecuted by City of Wolverhampton Council.

Inderjit Singh Ghuman smashed a front window, threatened his victim and, when the tenant escaped, threw his belongings out of a window.

Following investigations by the council’s Private Sector Housing and Trading Standards teams, he was prosecuted for unlawful eviction and aggressive commercial practices. 

Ghuman admitted 2 charges under The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and four charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

He also pleaded guilty to one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Ghuman was sentenced to 2 months for each of the charges brought by the council, these are to run concurrently. He was also sentenced to 6 months for the assault charge, bringing the total sentence to 8 months. This was ordered to be suspended for 12 months.

He was also required to pay £4,700 in compensation to his victims and carry out 80 hours of unpaid work by a judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court during a hearing on Monday 12 June.

Ghuman, of Byrne Road, Wolverhampton, started harassing his 2 tenants in October 2021 by unlawfully gaining access to the property they shared and changing the locks.

On this occasion, he arrived at the house with 2 men who behaved in an aggressive and abusive manner towards one tenant, pushing him out of the property and damaging his vehicle. The tenant reported the incident to police.

Ghuman had failed to follow the correct legal process in repossessing property and was warned it was a criminal offence to illegally evict someone. 

He was told by Private Sector Housing that an injunction and power of arrest may be obtained from court.

Further problems followed including Ghuman claiming that he had sold the house and telling his tenants that he was going to remove their possessions. They later discovered that a number of their personal items had gone missing.

The council subsequently obtained an interim injunction against Ghuman for his behaviour. However, during the night of 4 November, 2021, he used a hammer to break into the tenants’ property and made threats before being arrested.

One victim needed hospital treatment after jumping out of the window to escape, cutting the back of his left heel, toes of his right foot and his hands to add to an injury sustained on his shin when Ghuman tripped with the hammer. Ghuman’s 2 tenants were later found a permanent place to live.

Councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for city environment and climate change at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "This is a truly terrifying case where innocent members of the public were harassed, threatened and injured by someone they trusted to give them a home.

“It is an excellent example of the council working together, with our Private Sector Housing team using Trading Standards expertise to ensure Ghuman’s conviction. Our Homelessness Service and Housing Options team also assisted the victims.

“Ghuman clearly did not take his responsibility as a landlord seriously and instead of dealing with the situation in a legal and responsible way, decided to take matters into his own hands in this violent way.

“The thought of a man armed with a hammer breaking through a window on a dark November night is horrifying and my sympathies and good wishes go out to his victims.

“It is absolutely right that the council brought this prosecution, and I am pleased to see Ghuman has been punished for his actions.”