Kent: Landlord doused tenants in illegal eviction with petrol

Landlords doused tenants in gasoline and smashed teeth in illegal evictions

Tenants in 10 properties were exposed to rental agency behavior (Image: KMG/SWNS)

A rental agency has launched a 14-year campaign of violence, theft and vandalism against tenants to blackmail and illegally evict them, a court has heard.

A tenant was doused in petrol and had his teeth smashed in by a gang of 10, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

While another was reportedly evicted after landlords claimed they found a bag of white powder on the property.

People living in the properties on Athelstan Road in Margate, Kent, are said to have smashed toilets, picked locks, stolen keys and stolen belongings in the campaign of hostilities.

Sohila Tamiz, 66, Pedram Tamiz, 47, Kasem El Darrat, 53, and Adam McChesney, 39, all deny 16 charges of conspiracy to commit illegal evictions.

The crime is said to have taken place between 2007 and 2021, when the group is accused of conspiring against 26 tenants.

In all, residents of 10 properties have been subjected to Eviction Prevention Act violations, with many unlawfully evicted, prosecutors argue.

Sohila and Pedram, from Lenham in Kent, demanded rent from Shirleyann Hamdi when none was due and ordered her to leave their house out of the blue, the court was told.

A general view of Canterbury Crown Court in Kent.

The trial continues at Canterbury Crown Court (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

The couple are also accused of demanding that Jennifer Duffy pay rent, which she did not owe before removing her locks and taking her belongings off the property.

Ms Duffy told jurors she handed Sohila £1,600 for a month’s rent and security deposit and the situation quickly became “tense”.

“Shila and Pedram knocked on the door and said they found a white powder sachet,” she told the court.

“We didn’t think anything of it because it wasn’t ours, and that’s how it all started.

“Shila called me and asked for rent, but my rent wasn’t due yet.”

She told the jury when she refused to hand over the money, with Sohila saying, “You have to come and get your stuff and get out.”

Ms Duffy said when she returned with her friend Debra, Sohila and two men “tried to get us out”.

“They removed the locks from the front door,” she said.

When asked by a prosecutor if she felt Sohila was urging her to leave her home, Mr Duffy said yes, recalling she was “scared”.

“It was all screaming and screaming,” she added.

Ms Duffy told how, after a scuffle, her partner wedged the door with a metal bar and smeared shampoo on the floor to make intruders slip.

She said the next day Thanet District Council advised her to find alternative accommodation.

When she returned to the apartment, she found her furniture and belongings gone.

Sohila is also said to have conspired to unlawfully evict Julie Box-Beaumont and Stephen Dale from another house down the street.

In another incident, 10 men allegedly burst into Carl Hopkins’ home, doused him in petrol and beat him, causing him to lose three teeth.

His locks were changed the next day, forcing him to live in an abandoned trailer, the court was told.

El-Darrat and McChesney, both from Margate, are also charged with conspiring to disturb the peace and comfort of the occupiers.

Sohila is also accused of conspiring to break into two properties where tenants lived.

The process goes on.

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Justin Scacco

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