Lettings agents doused a tenant in petrol in a campaign of violence in a bid to extort and illegally evict residents, a court has heard.
Canterbury Crown Court heard that one tenant of the properties on Athelstan Road in Margate, Kent, was doused in petrol and had his teeth smashed by a gang of 10 people.
Another resident was evicted from the properties after the landlords claimed to have found a bag of white powder, it has been said.
Residents also claimed to have found their toilets smashed, locks broken, keys taken and belongings stolen when returning to the flats over a 14 year period between 2007 and 2021.
Kasem Al Darrat, 53, (pictured) is said to have plotted against 26 tenants with three others
Adam McChesney, 39, (pictured) is one of four people denying 16 charges relating to conspiracy to unlawfully evict
Prosecutors say residents in 10 properties were subjected to breaches of the Protection from Eviction Act, with many illegally evicted.
Sohila Tamiz, 66, Pedram Tamiz, 47, Kasem El Darrat, 53 and Adam McChesney, 39, are said to have plotted against 26 tenants.
They all deny 16 charges relating to conspiracy to unlawfully evict.
It is claimed that 10 men barged into Carl Hopkins’ home, doused him in petrol and beat him, causing him to lose three teeth.
The next day, the locks on the property Mr Hopkins was renting had been changed, forcing him to live in an abandoned caravan, the court heard.
The court heard that Sohila and Pedram, from Lenham in Kent, demanded rent from former resident Shirleyann Hamdi when none was due and ordered her to leave the property out of the blue.
The pair also told Jennifer Duffy, another former tenant, to pay rent she did not owe before changing the locks and removing her belongings from the property.
She told jurors she gave Sohila £1,600 for a month’s rent and deposit but that the situation became ‘tense’ and that she was left ‘scared’.
‘Sohila and Pedram knocked on the door and said they had found a white bag of powder,’ she said in evidence.
‘We thought nothing of it because it wasn’t ours, and that’s when it all started.
‘Sohila rang me demanding rent but my rent wasn’t due just yet.’
She told jurors that when she refused to hand over the money, Sohila said: ‘You need to come and get your stuff and get out.’
She added that when she returned with a friend, Sohila and two men ‘tried getting us out.’
Tenants in properties on Athelstan Road claimed to have found their toilets smashed, locks broken, keys taken and belongings stolen when returning to the flats over a 14 year period
‘They took the locks off the front door,’ she said.
She added that there was ‘shouting and screaming’ and that she had been left ‘scared.’
She told that, after a scuffle, her partner wedged the door shut with a metal bar and smeared shampoo on the floor so intruders would slip.
She was advised to find alternative accommodation when she contacted Thanet District Council, she told the court.
On returning to the flat, her furniture and belongings had been removed. She did not receive her deposit back.
Sohila also allegedly conspired to unlawfully evict Julie Box-Beaumont and Stephen Dale from another property on the road.
The court also heard that Sohila took Hayley Griffith’s key and sabotaged her electricity supply.
Prosecutor Michael Polak said Sohila damaged the toilet and acted ‘in a menacing manner and [demanded] that they leave.’
El-Darrat and McChesney, both from Margate, are also charged with conspiring to interfere with the peace and comfort of the occupier.
Sohila is also accused of conspiring to burgle two properties where tenants lived.
The trial continues.