penalty fine

12 Oct 23

A council has been slammed for its “absolutely outrageous” failure to stop the eviction of up to 80 tenants – a mass eviction it set in motion itself.

Yesterday we reported that Bristol’s Labour council won a banning order against a landlord who – to abide by the order – must now evict between 60 and 80 tenants by December 1.

Now a Green Party councillor has attacked the Bristol authority for not using a Special Interim Management Order which would have effectively meant the council would have managed the properties and tenants; they could then have been systematically rehoused while the landlord’s portfolio could be sold.

The councillor – Barry Parsons – has told the  Bristol Live news website: “The rent would be paid to whoever the council appointed, and that money used to fix repairs and maintain the properties. It’s a fairly simple process, and is a power that councils have that was specifically designed for situations like this. It would remain in place until either she sold the properties to another landlord with the rental agreement in place, or the tenant found somewhere else and moved out.”

Parsons described the banning order – which was enacted by the council in 2022 and confirmed on appeal earlier this year – as “a massive own goal”.

Bristol Live has been told by the council that it is not responsible for the evictions: however, it’s seen emails from the council to the landlord’s letting agent insisting that all tenancies must end on December 1, with the landlord being threatened with prison if that deadline was missed.

Landlord Naomi Knapp, who owns 29 properties in Bristol of which 18 required licencing, was last year convicted of eight banning order offences relating to poorly managed HMOs, and was added to the government’s rogue landlord database.

A First Tier Property Tribunal banned Knapp in 2022 because of missing or inadequately installed fire doors and damaged and poorly maintained walls and ceilings. Fixtures and fittings in communal areas of some properties were damaged and badly maintained, and some properties had rubbish-strewn gardens.

Knapp was granted permission to appeal on six grounds, but each appeal was dismissed.

Earlier this week Knapp told Bristol Live that eight or nine of her properties are now empty and not re-let: three or four have been sold but over 20 others have tenants who have now been served with eviction notices – 18 of these homes are HMOs.

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