A mum has told a jury how she and her children were forced to huddle around oven hobs for warmth after her landlords disconnected her boiler.
Among the other alleged victims is a grandmother who says masked men cut off her electricity and threatened her with violence if she did not leave her rented home.
She and her Army veteran partner fled in fear, leaving behind his coveted war medals, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
Mother and son Sohila Tamiz, 66, and Pedram Tamiz, 47, alongside Kasem El Darrat, 53, and Adam McChesney, 39, stand accused of executing a campaign of violence – including dousing a tenant in petrol – in a bid to illegally evict the residents.
Taking the stand on Wednesday, Ms Angelova, a Bulgarian national, told of her horror after moving into a one-bedroom flat in Athelstan Road.
She, her children and mother took the property having not seen it, after signing a tenancy agreement and handing over £1,300.
“It was in a very bad condition. There was mould on the walls, the windows were broken and they couldn’t close properly," Ms Angelova said, with the help of an interpreter.
“The boiler was not working - we had no heating."
Ms Angelova said she and her children were forced to use the kitchen stove for warmth, while they went without heating from November 2020 to January 2021.
Then, when she returned to Bulgaria in July, Olympia Homes letting agents destroyed her bathroom floor, she said.
She said her mother and children were turfed out onto the street and the keys were taken.
On returning to the UK two days later, Pedram promised to pay for a hotel to put up Ms Angelova and her children, the Bulgarian mum explained.
“Were you put up in a hotel?“ prosecutor Michael Polak asked.
“No, we had to sleep in the car,” she replied.
Ms Angelova said they soon gained entry to the flat after she placed her child through an open window, who then unlocked the door.
On entering the premises “the flooring was completely destroyed”, she told jurors.
“Apart from destroying the flooring they also stopped the water - they also took away the electricity fob.
“I was in the flat for a month and a half with my children and no electricity.”
Ms Angelova said after Thanet District Council supplied a new pre-payment key, the electricity cut off “four or five times.”
But Pedram’s barrister, David Spens QC, pointed the finger at Ms Angelova’s family for causing damage to the property.
“I’m going to suggest there were so many people living in the flat, it wasn’t properly looked after and became damaged,” he said.
“No, this is not true - I was repairing things in this property,” Ms Angelova replied.
Nicholas Bray is a Thanet District Council housing officer tasked with dealing with anti-social behaviour and unlawful evictions.
He said after receiving complaints about Olympia Homes he and a colleague rushed to Ms Angelova's flat on July 28.
Mr Bray said he was greeted by children “who looked like they had been sleeping in a car” and Ms Angelova, who was locked out.
“She was lifting a child up to an open window to gain access,” he said, adding he took photos of the situation.
Mr Bray added clothes were being dried on a gas hob, with electricity and water cut off when he subsequently visited.
Mr Bray said the bathroom floor was in such disrepair it was difficult “for the family to use the toilet or wash themselves”.
Council CCTV also showed an unidentifiable figure enter the basement to Ms Angelova’s building moments before her flat’s power was shut down, he said.
Julie Box Beaumont, a grandmother, told how masked men threatened her and her partner into fleeing their flat during the Christmas of 2017.
She said the two balaclava-clad men became aggressive, after appearing on their landing in Athelstan Road, saying they had sabotaged the power supply.
In her desperation to get to safety, she left behind presents for her grandchildren and a sentimental collection of teddy bears.
And her partner, ex-Army veteran Stephen Dale, lost his war medals, which cost £500 to replace, Ms Box-Beaumont explained.
Ms Box-Beaumont told jurors on Thursday the alleged illegal eviction came after they fell behind with one month’s rent, due to a spell of poor health.
“Our electricity was immediately cut,” she said.
“He made it very clear that if Stephen retaliated he would get beaten...'
“The fuse was taken out of our electricity box and we didn’t have electricity for about three days - we had started packing to leave.
“A person who was masked had his arm behind his back and there was another person behind him.
“He made it very clear that if Stephen retaliated he would get beaten.
“I was terrified. I turned to Stephen and said 'let’s go, let’s just go out of here'.”
When prosecutors asked Ms Box-Beaumont if she felt scared, she replied: “I wasn’t scared, I was absolutely petrified, and I’m still having nightmares about it to this day.”
She added following a period of sofa-surfing, Thanet District Council helped find them both accommodation.
Giving evidence on Tuesday, another resident, Jennifer Duffey, said Olympia Homes suggested a bag of white powder they had found was hers.
Sohila and Pedram also told Ms Duffy to stump up undue rent, and then removed locks and took her belongings from the property, the prosecution told jurors.
Ms Duffey claimed she handed Sohila £1,600 for a month’s rent and deposit in 2016 before the situation became "tense."
“Sohila and Pedram knocked on the door and said they had found a white bag of powder," she explained.
“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.”
Ms Duffey told jurors when she refused to hand over any money, Sohila said: “You need to come and get your stuff and get out.”
“Sohila rang me demanding rent, but my rent wasn't due just yet....'
She said when she returned with her friend, Debra, Sohila and two men “tried getting us out”.
“They took the locks off the front door,” she said.
“Were you being asked to leave you flat?” the prosecutor asked.
"Yes,” she replied. “It was all shouting and screaming.”
"How did you feel,” the prosecutor continued.
“Scared,” she said.
Ms Duffy told how, after a scuffle, her partner wedged the door shut with a metal bar and smeared shampoo on the floor, so intruders would slip.
She told how Thanet District Council the next day advised her to find alternative accommodation.
But on returning to the flat her furniture and belongings had disappeared, she said.
Asked if she was given her deposit back, she said: “No.”
‘14 years of illegal evictions’
The offending is said to have taken place over 14 years between 2007 and 2021, when the defendants are said to have plotted against 26 tenants.
In total, residents in 10 properties were subjected to breaches of the Protection of Eviction Act, with many illegally evicted, prosecutors said.
The court was told Sohila and Pedram, from Lenham, would demand rent from Shirleyann Hamdi when none was due and ordered her to leave her home out of the blue.
Ms Tamiz also allegedly conspired to unlawfully evict Ms Box-Beaumont and Mr Dale from another home on the road.
She took Hayley Griffiths’ key and sabotaged her electricity supply, the court was told.
She is also said to have damaged the toilet and acted “in a menacing manner and demanding that they leave”, prosecutor Michael Polak said.
It is also claimed 10 men barged into Carl Hopkins’s home, doused him in petrol and beat him, causing him to lose three teeth.
The next day Mr Hopkins’s locks had been changed, forcing him to live in an abandoned caravan, the court was told.
Thanet District Council’s prosecution brings a total of 16 charges on the indictment between 2007-2021.
Sohila faces all 16 which include conspiracy to interfere with the peace and comfort of the residential occupier, conspiracy to unlawfully evict and conspiracy to burgle.
Pedram is accused of nine charges, including conspiracy to interfere with the peace and comfort of the residential occupier, conspiracy to unlawfully evict and conspiracy to burgle.
McChesney, of Gloucester Avenue, Margate, faces six charges including conspiracy to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier, conspiracy to unlawfully evict and conspiracy to burgle.
El Darrat, of Athelstan Road, faces four charges, including conspiracy to interfere with the peace and comfort of the residential occupier and conspiracy to unlawfully evict.
The four defendants deny all charges charges relating to conspiracy to unlawfully evict, while working for Olympia Homes letting agents.
The trial continues.
Clarification: We previously said the defendants deny 16 charges relating to conspiring to unlawfully evict, between 2007-2021. While 16 charges are being pursued by Thanet District Council only one defendant faces all 16. We have clarified the number of offences each defendant is charged with above.