Posts with tag: rogue landlord

London: First rogue landlord banned under new laws

Published On: December 5, 2019 at 9:08 am

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London’s first rogue landlord has been banned from letting property by Camden Council. Cesar De Sousa Melo, 45 is the first landlord to be banned under new laws that came into effect last April.

The order, secured by Camden Council at a tribunal in November prohibits Melo from letting any housing for the next four years. Should he breach this ban, he faces up to 51 weeks in prison and/or a Civil Financial Penalty of up to £30,000. 

The tribunal heard that the rogue landlord had sublet three flats, one in King’s Cross, a second Bloomsbury and the final in Euston. In June last year, the King’s Cross flat was raided and found to be overcrowded and not to have working fire alarms, putting tenants at serious risk. 

The three bedrooms had beds crammed in, including four bunks in one room. The kitchen was also too small for all the people living in the property and a door was hanging off its hinges.

In August of last year, the other two flats were raided and found to also be in a bad state of disrepair and to be breaking many safety and habitation laws under the Housing Act.

It was claimed in the tribunal that the tenants lives were put at risk by living in the flats. A combination of non-working smoke alarms and poor fire escape routes were presented as evidence of this. In addition, most of the rooms did not have working central heating. 

The tenants in all three homes were described as vulnerable to exploitation owing to their age and nationalities. 

Melo given some of the tenants tenancy agreements in which he claimed he was the landlord, although he was in fact subletting. He has been fined £29,000 for offences involving the three flats.

Landlord installs ‘cage’ around thermostat to control heating in London property

Published On: November 7, 2019 at 9:58 am

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The temperature has certainly dropped for the year, meaning that the heating is coming on in many homes throughout the UK, but one landlord has gone to extreme levels to prevent their tenants from adjusting the temperature.

This landlord in west London has installed a box around the thermostat in her rental property, which was soon spotted by the tenants.

Last Saturday, Alex Milsom noticed the box covering the thermostat control in the Ealing house he rents with roommates.

 Milson pays £700 a month in rent and bills for his room but told the press that the heating is controlled externally by his landlord. This means that they can only access hot water at certain times of the day, resulting in them having to wash dishes and take showers using cold water.

Milson claims that he and his housemates had no notice from the landlord. He posted the following Tweet:

After the Tweet went viral, there were queries over the legality of the landlord’s decision to install the Nest thermostat.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), has informed the press that there are no rules around boxing off thermostats.

He commented: “It is a matter of good tenancy management and we encourage landlords to speak first with tenants before taking such action.

“In shared homes, there can often be disputes between tenants who want the thermostat set at different temperatures.”

Citizens’ Advice has advised the tenant to negotiate amicably with the landlord if at all possible, “due to the limited security of tenure which private tenants tend to have”. 

The spokesperson added: “The tenants might consider trying to take control of the heating themselves by using electric heaters. 

“There is a risk however that the landlord may respond negatively to a huge electricity bill, and perhaps seek to serve a Section 21 notice (no fault eviction notice) to terminate the tenancy at the end of the fixed term, or seek to alter the rent or other tenancy terms as a condition of any renewal.” 

Telford rogue landlord becomes first in England to receive banning order

Published On: September 23, 2019 at 8:28 am

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For the first time in England, a rogue landlord has officially been banned from the private rental sector (PRS).

A tribunal heard that Telford rogue landlord David Beattie made attempts to mislead his tenants of their legal rights and security of tenure by issuing them a licence instead of an assured shorthold tenancy.

These licences stated that the tenants could be evicted at 48 hours’ notice or less.

Telford and Wrekin Council has ordered Beattie to repay housing benefit paid to him as well as banning him from being a landlord. This comes to a total of £1,924.65 for two former tenants from 2018.

The tribunal was informed that he has previous convictions, on top of the banning order and rent repayment order applied for by the Council.

Despite knowing that he would be refused a HMO licence if he were to apply for one, Beattie continued to let a seven-bedroom house in Dudmaston, Hollinswood.

Telford and Wrekin Council officers have discovered that five people had been living there, as part of an investigation in 2018.

With this banning order in place, Beattie cannot legally let a house or be involved in property management for the next five years.

However, the tenants already living in his seven properties will be allowed to remain there until the end of their tenancies.

Councillor Richard Overton, cabinet member for enforcement at Telford and Wrekin Council, has commented: “This is a landmark case; the first banning order to be applied since it became part of law more than a year ago.

“It shows how seriously we take the issue of rogue landlords.

“It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our officers that once his existing leases expire this now former landlord can no longer continue to operate until 2024.”

London Landlord Fined for Failure to License Let

Published On: April 3, 2019 at 10:02 am

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Another rogue landlord has been fined for failure to license their house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Mohammed Saleh Ahmed, a London landlord in the borough of Tower Hamlets, has been issued a £4,000 fine, including costs of over £5,000, after failing to obtain the necessary licence for his HMO.

Landlords must license their let if it is occupied by at least three tenants from two or more separate households, sharing facilities, such as a bathroom and kitchen.

This form of licencing has been put in place as a way of bringing safer housing to the private rental sector (PRS). An effort is being made to improve HMOs in the UK, with the introduction of such schemes.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, commented: “This case sends out a message to show that the council can and will enforce against landlords who fail to register their properties and that they face serious penalties for failing to do so. This prosecution action and the new scheme shows we are taking action to protect tenants and support standards for renters in the private rented sector.”

Councillor Sirajul Islam Deputy Mayor for Housing and Statutory Deputy Mayor, said: “The council cares about renters and will insist that landlords get the necessary licensing that protects both landlord and tenants. Housing is at such a premium in the borough that shared overcrowded flats used by multiple tenants are common. The scheme is essential in protecting health and safety for tenants and has real teeth.”

As this case shows, it can be expensive to get caught with an unlicensed HMO. It may be an extra cost for buy-to-let investors, but the licence does last five years. Specifically for a licence in Tower Hamlets, you would be looking at a fee of £520, which is one of the lowest in London.

This documenton the GOV.UK website provides full guidance for HMO landlords.

Rogue landlord fined heavily for allowing tenants to live in ‘atrocious conditions’

Published On: September 7, 2017 at 1:24 pm

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A rogue landlord who rented out flats which were in breach of council planning laws and did not meet humane living standards has been ordered to pay almost £339,000 in fines.

Mr Nihal Seneviratne, of West Hampstead, and his company, NSV Management Ltd, were convicted for illegally turning a former hotel in Harlesden into 26 squalid studio flats six years ago.

Fine

Mr Seneviratne was given the huge fine after his case was brought to Harrow Crown Court by Brent Council on Tuesday. Harrow Crown Court issued a £300,650 confiscation order to Seneviratne’s company under the Proceeds of Crime Act. In addition, he was told to pay £20,000 in fines, alongside £18, 268 in costs.

During March 2012, the rogue landlord ignored a planning enforcement notice issued to him by Brent Council. Thereafter, he went on to con over 100 vulnerable tenants out of thousands of pounds.

The minimum size requirement for a studio flat in London is 37sqm. Mr Seneviratne charged rents for poorly insulated properties measuring between 9sqm and 20sqm.

There were also issues with the maintenance of the property, alongside the fact that tenants were living in insanitary conditions.

Rogue landlord fined heavily for allowing tenants to live in 'atrocious conditions'

Rogue landlord fined heavily for allowing tenants to live in ‘atrocious conditions’

Atrocious

Councillor Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: ‘Mr Seneviratne’s illegal behaviour resulted in many tenants enduring atrocious conditions, which were making their lives a misery.’

‘The outcome of this long case is a victory against slum landlords who exploit vulnerable residents for a profit. Brent Council will make sure that rogue landlords will not benefit in any way from their crimes.’[1]

 

[1] https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/9/rogue-landlord-fined-339k-for-allowing-tenants-to-live-in-atrocious-conditions

 

 

Rogue landlord jailed for Capital Gains Tax fraud

Published On: August 14, 2017 at 11:58 am

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A private landlord has been put behind bars after failing to declare Capital Gains Tax from the sale of his rental properties.

Mr Richard Fuller did not declare the profit he had gained from the sales of several properties in Aldershot between 2006 and 2013.

Fuller, arrested in October, evaded £157,725 in payments.

Cheating and Fraud

The rogue landlord was found guilty of cheating the public revenue and of fraud by false representation last month. He was subsequently jailed at Winchester Crowd Court last week on August 11th.

Judge A Barnett told Mr Fuller on sentencing: ‘The jury found you guilty of dishonesty. This is a serious matter, you deliberately failed to pay your Capital Gains Tax over several years.’[1]

Commenting on the case, Richard Wilkinson, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: ‘Fuller thought he was above the law and decided not to declare or pay the tax due from the sale of some of his property portfolio. It is simply not acceptable to steal from UK taxpayers. HMRC will continue to pursue those who attempt to hide their gains on assets, their income, and investigate those who attack the tax system.’[1]

Rogue landlord jailed for Capital Gains Tax fraud

Rogue landlord jailed for Capital Gains Tax fraud

The investigation of Mr Fuller formed part of a wider investigation from HMRC’s property taskforce campaign. HMRC says that since May 2011, over 140 taskforces have been launched – bringing in more than £540m in proceeds of crime.

[1] https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/8/landlord-jailed-for-capital-gains-fraud