Man barricades himself into home on his birthday after landlord rips door out

A delivery driver had to barricade himself and his girlfriend into their home after their landlord had the front door removed.

Niki Zaupa had turned 25 on the day that his landlord messaged to say someone was coming round to get him out of his flat in Govanhill, Glasgow.

The Italian national was struggling to make money as a delivery driver and had fallen behind on rent at the start of this year.

Despite a ban on evictions during the pandemic, Niki was told it was a civil matter when he called the police asking for help.

“At around 8.30/9pm the landlord’s agent arrived with another guy,” Niki said.

“I thought they wanted to talk so I let them in. I opened the door and he asked me if he had seen the message.

“I said yes and said I told the police. He got upset, started insulting me and then said ‘this door needs repairing, I am taking it away now’.

“The landlord unscrewed the door while the other guy watched as if trying to intimidate me. Then they went away.”

This time two police officers did come to his home when he called, only to try and fail to call the landlord, look around and then leave him to see out a miserable birthday.

“I stayed there with my girlfriend but I couldn’t afford to pay someone to fix the door at the last minute,” Niki explained.

“I took a door from my bedroom but it was obviously a bedroom door. It was easy to kick down.

“So I moved a sofa, wardrobe and chest of drawers to secure it.”

The following day Niki hired a van, piled his possessions into it and went to stay at his girlfriend’s flat.

He is now living with a friend while he looks for somewhere more permeant to stay.

“I feel horrible about it,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone should go something like this. It is brutal. It is surreal for me that someone can keep going with their lives after that happens.

“Landlord’s shouldn’t be able to act like this, I need more protection from the Government.”

While the way Niki was made to leave his flat was by no means conventional, 300 eviction orders have been granted in Scotland during the pandemic, according to housing charity Living Rent.

It is now expected a tidal wave of evictions now the nations ban has been lifted on May 17.

Meg Bishop, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, said there may be many more evictions that are executed illegally.

“The Scottish Government has said throughout the pandemic that no one should be evicted due to financial hardship caused by the pandemic, yet half of the eviction orders granted during the pandemic were due to arrears,” she said.

Jack Hanington, Living Rent, added: “Allowing landlords to evict tenants with no further protections in place will only lengthen the social housing waiting lists and stretch Scotland’s homelessness services and temporary accommodation further.

“We need more protection now and we need to build more quality social housing than the Scottish Government has committed to.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 6.15pm on Wednesday, 31 March, officers attended at a property on Annandale Road following a report of intimidating behaviour. No criminality was established and appropriate advice was given to the caller.”

Niki’s landlord have been contacted for comment.

Shelter is calling on people to fight to reform the private rental sector.