To counter complaints voiced in landlord press that local authorities are failing to enforce against rogue landlords and agents, Safer Renting brings you a monthly roundup of the real work being done, stories which are often not reported on more widely than the local papers. We welcome any stories of yours that we missed.
London Borough of Brent:
Mr Ige, a North London landlord, was fined £25,000 for each of 3 unlicensed properties he was renting out, plus £5,000 for failing to supply documents on request and another £10,763 in costs, amounting to £90,863.
We hope that Mr Ige will think again before presuming the council is so stripped of resources that they will neither detect nor enforce these issues.
Oldham Council prosecuted six landlords for failing to sign up to a selective licensing scheme.
Liam Coates, fined £490, with £300 costs and a £49 victim surcharge
Kauser Parveen, fined £495, with £450 costs and a £49 victim surcharge
Michael John Coates, fined £490, with £300 costs and a £49 victim surcharge
Yasmin Walayat, fined £600, with £400 costs and a £60 victim surcharge
Amjid Munir, fined £600, with £400 costs and a £60 victim surcharge
Mohammed Shahidul Islam Ali did not attend court and pleaded guilty, receiving an £80 fine, £525 costs and a £30 victim surcharge. Despite Mr Ali being issued a reduced fine, presumably due to his guilty plea, both he and the other five landlords paid considerably more than it would have cost to secure correct licences to begin with.
London Borough of Waltham Forest:
One of Safer Renting’s partner boroughs had an excellent result against local letting agency Century 21 Cameron Adams, for letting out an unlicensed property to 6 tenants, which had no working smoke detectors, overflowing waste water, inadequate heating and dangerous entrance steps.
Fined £28,000 for multiple offences, the company manages over 100 other properties in the borough.
South Hams Council:
Moving down to Devon, this past month has seen the council levy a civil penalty of £18,000 against an unnamed landlord, presumably swapping a promise to carry out the necessary work in return for their anonymity.
The penalty was imposed after he or she failed to comply with an improvement notice.
The landlord was presumably trying to save money on repairs, but it seems likely that the fine of £18,000 would have far surpassed the cost of the work itself.
Insolvency service, probably initiated by Trading standards in Exeter:
Kelly Forester of Clear Property has been banned from being a company director for 6 years for using £68,000 of tenant’s money, which should have been protected, as running costs for her company.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council:
Landlord David Christlow appeared at Beverley Magistrates’ Court, pleading guilty to two offences of failing to comply with improvement notices.
In January 2019 he told the council he would comply and do the required work but officials found on a subsequent visit in April 2019 that no changes had been made.
Breaches included a heating element in the bathroom hanging off the wall, no handrails on the staircase, no smoke seals on doors.
Mr Christlow incurred a £2,000 fine, a victim surcharge of £170 and £2,282.93 in council’s legal costs.
Luton Borough Council:
Finally, Luton’s proactive multi-agency approach drew dividends in the prosecution of landlord Marco Caruso, found guilty of running an unlicensed HMO with the following list of life-threatening defects:
Poor fire alarm systems
Blocked fire exits
Broken and missing roof tiles
An appropriate £27,000 fine in the local Magistrates’ Court, along with £170 victim surcharge and puzzlingly low council costs of £848.70.
Officers involved with this case will undoubtedly be able to explain this low fee, which is probably a story of its own.
Poor property conditions are bad enough in a climate of sky high PRS rents but fire safety issues, in a post-Grenfell world, are unforgivable.
Well done to all these local authorities for their recent work!