Court Fines, Civil Penalties and News

14 Jun 24 The owners of a large HMO in London have been fined £13,500 after failing to repair multiple hazards within their property. A series of Improvement Notices under the Housing Act 2004 were issued to the landlords in Haringey after severe hazards were identified throughout the property, including communal areas. Additionally, four out of the eight flats within the property were found to be affected with damp and mould, posing significant health risks

13 Jun 24 A recent court case in Sheffield serves as a stark reminder to landlords across the UK of their legal obligation to ensure fire safety in their rental properties. Zahir Ahmed of Sheffield was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 250 hours of community service after admitting to violating fire safety laws. The case stemmed from a fire at a property he owned in February 2022. Thankfully, firefighters

10 Jun 24A landlord has been sentenced to six months in prison - suspended for 18 months - and 250 hours community service after admitting to violating fire safety laws.Ahmed, of Sheffield appeared at Sheffield Crown Court having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to six charges of failing to comply with articles under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.Eleven people were trapped inside the building on Sheffield when fire broke at around 3.25am

31 May 24 A couple who are portfolio landlords in the London borough of Haringey have been ordered to pay £10,000 after failing to license their property. An inspection found the property, which was originally a family home, was occupied by seven different households, accommodating nine tenants across three storeys. Properties occupied by five or more people who are not all related and use it as their main home must have a mandatory HMO license.

17 May 24 Newly re-elected Greater Manchester Labour Mayor Andy Burnham is to spend £600,000 of council tax payers’ cash on a clampdown on landlords. This includes a Good Landlord Charter, set to be rolled out later this year, to set out “clear, practical, and accessible standards to drive up the quality of renting in Greater Manchester.” And there will be a Property Check scheme “to help those who feel trapped by their housing situation

15 May 24 Two London agents who traded fraudulently through their lettings business and scammed victims out of over £24,000 have been sentenced. After a lengthy and protracted investigation into the activities of a number of letting agencies, the two defendants – Akther of Rainham and Noor Rashid of Beckton – pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading. This was following numerous complaints linked to Signature London Ltd and Signature London Group Ltd for duping prospective tenants, landlords and existing

13 May 24 A council has fined a landlord £17,500 for failing to license two of his properties in the area. However, the identify of the landlord is not known because anonymity was a condition of them accepting the penalty. The properties are in Sutton, in Ashfield council’s Selective Licensing Scheme which means that all landlords with any privately rented properties in the selected area will need a licence for these properties. Selective licensing was extended

30 Apr 24 A landlord from South Gloucestershire that has repeatedly flouted housing rules has been ordered to pay more than £80,000 in fines. Earlier this month Giuseppe xxx, also known as Joe xxx, was fined a further £36,000 after being found guilty of housing offences relating to two properties in Patchway. xxx appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court on Monday, April 15, for a second prosecution which was pursued by South Gloucestershire Council’s Private Sector Housing Team (PSHT). He was also ordered to pay

29 Apr 24 New changes to planning rules mean rogue landlords who illegally convert HMOs could face an unlimited fine. As part of the government’s Levelling-up and Regeneration Act, local councils will be better able to hold property developers who repeatedly fail to comply with planning permission to account, as well as those who refuse to deal with run-down properties. Anyone failing to build in the right place will also face unlimited fines, while the rules

24 Apr 24 Political parties should stop bickering and instead work together to boost enforcement of rental standards in the private sector. That’s the view of the Lettings industry Council, a group including lettings agencies, redress and deposit schemes, Propertymark, the NRLA, Trading Standards and consumer groups.  The council has published a briefing demanding an overarching policy that addresses all rental tenures and operating across political parties.  Specifically it’s calling for five things:  1. A

23 Apr 24 The British Property Federation is among those that have welcomed Labour’s “golden rules” for so-called grey belt development as a step in the right direction in the effort to build more homes and infrastructure. The leader of the Opposition party Sir Kier Starmer has set out five “golden rules” for building on the green belt in an effort to boost housebuilding while improving “genuine green spaces”. The proposed rules, announced on Friday,

22 Apr 24 A single 10-year time limit for bringing enforcement action over planning breaches is set to come into force this week (25 April) as part of enforcement reforms set out in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023. The reforms have been introduced via the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 8) and Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2024, which were made earlier this month. The updated regulations remove the current four-year time limit for

22 Apr 24 Liverpool City Council’s Private Sector Housing team has successfully prosecuted four interlinked companies for illegally renting out properties without HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) licences. The prosecutions follow an investigation during which it was discovered the properties were being let without the appropriate HMO licence. The fines were issued at a sentencing hearing at Liverpool Magistrates Court on 15 April, and relate to several properties across the Everton West (L3), Toxteth (L8)

15 Apr 24 A large-scale landlord in Kent, Fergus Wilson, has been found in contempt of court after breaching a final injunction order that sought to stop him from harassing staff at Ashford Borough Council. In Ashford Borough Council & Ors v Wilson [2024] EWHC 781 (KB) (10 April 2024), Mr Justice Antony Dunne considered more than 40 separate instances in which the council alleged Wilson had breached the injunction. The final injunction order was made in

15 Apr 24 Note this is the council press release verbatim so read it with caution. Watford Borough Council has successfully prosecuted Mr xxxx, owner of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) located at Vicarage Road, for numerous breaches that posed significant risks to the health and safety of tenants and was ordered to pay a total of £26,535.41 for his offences. The case arose from concerns raised by two tenants residing at Vicarage Road,

08 Apr 24 A housing management company has been fined £30,000 after an inspection by Liverpool City Council found an escape route at a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) was padlocked shut and blocked by a shipping container. Newsham Park Estates Ltd has pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Management of House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Regulations 2006 due to serious issues with tenant safety. The Council’s Private Sector Housing Service visited the property

04 Apr 24 Burnley council says it’s considered the findings of a six-week public consultation and is set to increase planning controls over the conversion of properties into HMOs. The council’s executive is recommended to agree the removal of what are known as permitted development rights which currently allow a single dwelling house to be changed into a small HMO without planning permission. Currently a single dwelling can be converted into an HMO for between

27 Feb 24 A landlord has been slammed with £9,000 in fines and costs for ignoring notices to improve his property. Following reports of disrepair from a tenant of the flat in Harlesden, Brent council inspected the property and uncovered a range of hazards, including ventilation issues and a broken electric heater. Enforcement officers issued an improvement notice to the landlord, Kevin McLoughlin of Hertfordshire, in June 2023 mandating that essential repairs to address these

21 Feb 24 The Government has launched consultations on changes to national policy to strengthen planning support for brownfield development, and further changes to permitted development rights (PDRs). The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said every council in England would be told that “they will need to prioritise brownfield developments and instructed to be less bureaucratic and more flexible in applying policies that halt housebuilding on brownfield land”. It also claimed that

19 Feb 24 Housing Secretary Michael Gove has this morning announced wholesale changes to planning and regulations surrounding short lets. His proposals include: planning permission will be required for future short-term lets; a mandatory national register; homeowners can continue to let out their own main or sole home for up to 90 nights a year; unspecified proposals which he says “will give communities greater control over future growth”. Under the clampdown councils will be given

16 Feb 24 A bid to make three Northumberland holiday cottages available as permanent private residences has been rejected by planners. At a time when many elements of the private rental sector are being blamed for allowing short lets and holiday accommodation to diminish the stock of permanent homes, the planners at Northumberland council ironically have refused consent for the change of use – because it would reduce tourist amenities. The Northumberland Gazette reports that

13 Feb 24 A council has won an appeal to enforce a Financial Penalty Notice that was served on a landlord who let out a privately rented property without a licence in place.   A financial penalty to the value of £3,673.00 was served in July 2023 because the landlord failed to submit an application, despite numerous warnings by East Staffordshire council. A selective licensing scheme came into effect in September 2022, which the council

06 Feb 24 The landlord of a flat has been ordered to pay a total of £3,287 for failing to carry out repairs.  Ykhlef, of Bridlington, failed to undertake basic repairs and put in place adequate management arrangements to ensure the property he let out was safe for the tenant.  As Ykhlef did not comply with improvement notices served under the Housing Act 2004, East Riding of Yorkshire council brought the case.  Ykhlef did not attend

26 Jan 24 A flamboyant property in Oxford which has been the subject of a decades-long planning dispute has been removed from Airbnb by the short let portal itself. The terraced house in North Oxford has a 25 foot fibreglass shark sticking out of its roof – the result of its flamboyant owner, cinema proprietor and radio host Bill Heine, erecting it without formal consent in 1986. The local Labour council had a six year

10 Jan 24 A London council has prosecuted a landlord for failing to carry out repairs on his property and causing a severe health risk to tenants. Watford council responded to reports from a family living in hazardous conditions with their three young children. It was found that large parts of the property were not safe to be lived in – especially the three young tenants, with those under 14 particularly vulnerable to mould. The

10 Jan 24 The National Residential Landlords Association has welcomed a consultation proposal by Greater Manchester’s Labour Mayor, Andy Burnham. Burnham’s Greater Manchester Good Landlord Charter has many controversial ideas including giving all renters the right to request a property check, boosting  inspection and enforcement capability, and greater accountability of landlords to tenants.  Now NRLA policy director Chris Norris says: “The vast majority of private landlords across Greater Manchester provide decent housing and a good

19 Dec 23 A letting agent, who also operates as a landlord in the Leamington Spa area, has been given a banning order for multiple failings and a total disregard for safety rules. The banning order, which will take effect from tomorrow, bans Grzegorz xxxxx from letting property or engaging in letting agency or property management work across the country for a period of three years. This is the first ever banning order made in

18 Dec 23 Landlords Shaun and Laraine xxxxx have pleaded guilty to four offences of breaching Prohibition Orders against human habitation at their properties in the Guildford area. They were each fined a total of £500, £200 for the victim support fund and jointly ordered to pay £735 towards Guildford council’s legal costs. Commented Phil Turtle, director of compliance services at Landlord Licensing & Defence, “At first sight the fines seem almost insignificant. These were

11 Dec 23 A landlord who used a fake name to evade detection has been hit with £485,000 in fines after illegally renting out a shed as five flats. Yehudi Levhar of Sudbury also previously pleaded guilty to letting a house at the same premises as two flats without planning permission. Brent council was tipped off by neighbours who reported the property back in 2013.  Officers served a planning enforcement notice to stop the premises

13 Nov 23 A property company has been hit with a bill of almost £9,000 for failing to fix fire and electrical issues at a building in Liverpool containing flats.  Ateres Investments Limited was fined at Liverpool Magistrates Court after it failed to comply with two improvement notices served by Liverpool City Council, in relation to a residential property on Lawrence Road in Wavertree. The court heard that inspections in June 2022 identified various issues,

09 Nov 23 Guest post from Roderick Morton, Partner at Ivy Legal A recent High Court ruling exhorts officers to make a deeper dive into the detail of planning permissions, writes Roderick Morton. In Ariyo v Richmond Upon Thames LBC [2023] EWHC 2278 the council granted permission for a rear garden pergola extension to a restaurant. Key to the decision was the council’s view that the use of the rear garden as part of the restaurant was

09 Nov 23 A landlord and a property management company have been found guilty of putting tenants at risk after a council probe. Kensington and Chelsea council officers made a dawn raid at the 22-bedroom house of multiple occupation at Hyde Park Gate in 2021, where they found multiple fire and damp risks. Blackstone Properties Management Limited and the director of the company – Mohamed Ali Rasool – were this month fined a total of

07 Nov 23 A council has prosecuted a private landlord who rented out an uninhabitable outbuilding in Kings Langley. Deborah X was initially fined £4,000 for failing to comply with a Prohibition Order after she failed to attend court in March 2023. X requested a reopening of the case, which the courts approved. The first two hearings were adjourned at the landlord’s request. At the third hearing, at St Albans Magistrates’ Court, a further request for

07 Nov 23 A landlord who repeatedly failed to comply with a Planning Enforcement Notice has received a hefty fine. Sultan Mahmood, of Woking, was fined £12,000 for repeatedly failing to remove an ‘L shaped’ dormer that did not comply with approved plans.  Mahmood was also ordered to pay the council’s legal costs totalling £3,532.50 and a victim surcharge of £170. In October 2018, Mahmood was granted planning permission for a change of ground floor

06 Nov 23 A professional landlord who tried to dodge responsibility for his HMO has been ordered to pay two former tenants more than £10,000. The tenants put in a claim for rent repayment orders from Rasaq Bukoye after he failed to licence the property in Nassau Path, London, but Bukoye denied he was the landlord because the tenancy agreements had named his company B.I.Y. UK Limited instead. He relied on a Supreme Court ruling that only direct landlords

27 Oct 23 The Renters (Reform) Bill may have had its second reading in Parliament and while it has been hailed as a major reform for the private rented sector – it will cost landlords dearly.  Now, Des Taylor, a leading expert on housing law is warning that the Bill will bring in a raft of new enforcement measures against landlords, which will result in massive fines and even bankruptcy for some.Des Taylor, a director of Landlord Licensing & Defence,

26 Oct 23 A Bristol landlord who confronted handed the tenant an illegal eviction notice after finding him using the bathroom in the house, has been jailed for eight weeks. The tenant asked for advance notice before the landlord visited, apparently prompting him to serve the eviction notice on her. The tenant was forced to stay in the property, due to the lack of available affordable rented properties, while she looked for a home she

09 Oct 23 A rogue landlord and his company have been found guilty of failing to licence an HMO and breaches of management regulations. Broadland council officers proved Jubayer Rimon and his company Ambreen Properties were operating an HMO without the required licence, with up to 17 people residing in the four bedroom terraced property in Diss. The council says this put “the occupants’ health, safety and wellbeing at risk.”A council spokesperson says: “This is

05 Oct 23 A slum landlord in Sheffield has been given the longest banning order ever after being prevented from managing or letting properties for ten years. 56-year-old local businessman Nilendu Das has been added to the national Rogue Landlord Database following a First Tier Tribunal decision in Manchester brought by Sheffield City Council, its first such action. Photos courtesy of Chair of Sheffield City Council’s Housing Committee, Cllr Douglas Johnson said: “The length of [this] banning order

20 Sep 23 A landlord who let tenants live in properties riddled with hazardous electrics, unsafe boilers, mould and no smoke alarms must pay over £32,000 in fines and court costs. Shropshire council told Magistrates that the condition of flats and caravans at Ashford Carbonell, near Ludlow, meant there was a potential risk to life, with problems about heating, drainage and clean water supplies. Thomas Edward Evans, 84, did not appear at court to answer

01 Sep 23 An unlicensed landlord has been ordered to pay back almost £15,000 in rent to his tenants after they were forced to live in “dangerous and disgusting conditions”. When officers from Barking and Dagenham council visited the privately-owned two-bed flat in Dagenham they found a catalogue of problems including damp and mould throughout the property and only one functioning heater. It also had no working smoke alarms, the kitchen cupboards were all broken,

30 Aug 23 The former landlord of The Rising Sun pub on Grove Street in Bath has been prosecuted over safety failings following a serious fire last September. Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) has welcomed the outcome of a court case against Norman Butcher, who was prosecuted for failing to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Mr Butcher, the Responsible Person of The Rising Sun Public House, was sentenced on Friday

23 Aug 23 The company which owned and was responsible for a five-storey block of rented flats in Bridlington has been ordered to pay a total of £12,377 for failing to ensure it was safe for its private tenants. London-based Gedulah Ltd bought the property in 2021 and employed a management company based in Manchester. However, it failed to undertake basic repairs or put in place adequate management arrangements to ensure the property was safe.

01 Aug 23 News that up to 25% of tenants are sub-letting and half of those tenants had not told their landlord that they were subletting has led to a warning that the landlord AND tenant could be facing ‘life-changing fines’. The warning comes from Landlord Licensing & Defence after research from Direct Line business insurance uncovered the shock statistics. The firm says that these landlords are unwittingly breaking the law. In fact, any landlord

24 Jul 23 A landlord with an OBE has been branded a “rogue” by a West London council for his poor management of 22 properties where tenants lived in “appalling conditions”. Nirpaul Riat was taken to court after being issued an Emergency Prohibition Order by Hounslow Council due to poor conditions in 22 of his properties, and judges fined him £300,000 for the long list of issues. Damp, squalid rooms with limited natural light, a

20 Jul 23 Planning reforms proposed by the government would make its 300,000 new homes per year target “impossible”, a cross-party group of MPs has found. In a new report on proposed planning reforms, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee said planning consultants estimate that annual housebuilding will go down to around 150,000 a year under the government’s proposed policy reforms. The committee is calling on government to take “urgent action” to increase

09 Aug 22 Islington Council has prosecuted a landlord who repeatedly failed to comply with licensing regulations, including refusal to provide a kitchen for a tenant, resulting in costs of £40,000. The case was brought by the council’s Environmental Health team after an investigation revealed 15 breaches of residential property licensing conditions and a further two breaches of property management regulations. These breaches included leaving one tenant without access to a kitchen. Mohammed Shahid, owner

A LANDLORD who rents out homes in the South Gloucestershire and Bristol area has been ordered to pay over £44,000 after a court found him guilty of a serious housing offence and contravening a Local Government Act Giuseppe Sutera, also known as Joe Sutera, attended Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Monday 26 June for the prosecution brought by South Gloucestershire Council, but refused to identify himself (stating only that he was “a man” and that Joe

A council has issued a statement boasting of its record prosecuting rogue landlords. Somerset council says it has successfully prosecuted a Taunton landlord for breaching the licensing requirements for HMOs set out in the Housing Act 2004. A landlord failed to licence eight properties in the Taunton area, pleaded guilty and has been fined £34,640. Additionally, a court recently threw out a case where a landlord tried to serve an injunction on the former Somerset

A landlord has been ordered to pay over £44,000 in fines and costs for serious fire safety defects at a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Bristol. In a prosecution case brought by South Gloucestershire Council, Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Sutera was found to be in breach of an Emergency Prohibition Order (EPO) after “continuing to let a property where there were serious fire safety issues and where tenants’ lives were being put at risk”. Issues were first discovered

13 Jun 23 A landlord in Dartford has batted off a huge rent repayment order (RRO) claim made by her tenants after a judge dismissed the case during a virtual Property Tribunal hearing. Manjit Sanghera, who co-manages the family detached property on the outskirts of the Kentish town with her husband, had faced an RRO claim of £14,400 despite the tenants owing her nearly £17,000 in rent. The tribunal’s three judges heard claims by tenants

12 Jun 23 The case of a Wigan lettings firm which is accused of 15 charges of fraud relating to the handling of deposits worth thousands of pounds has been sent to the crown court. Let Me Lettings, on Winstanley Road, Orrell, is charged with falsely claiming deposits were being held in a deposit protection scheme and other related offences involving disputes between tenants and landlords. The offences are alleged to have happened between August

25 May 23 The housing secretary has written to 10 local planning authorities to warn them that their planning performance is at risk of designation. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published the letters earlier this week about their performance under Section 62A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. In his letter, housing secretary Michael Gove says: “The government is clear that having an efficient and effective planning service at

17 May 23 A council has prosecuted a rogue landlord for the second time for illegally evicting a tenant. The prosecution for offences relating to the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 was brought by Cheltenham council with the assistance of the Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit. The landlord – Lidia Szopinska, a London resident – let a room in a house she owns in Cheltenham to a tenant in January 2022 for a period of

11 May 23 Camden Council has been fined £500,000 after its failure to address serious fire defects in one of its properties for four years led to the “unnecessary” and “terrifying” death of a 35-year-old woman. Magdalena Fink died at 31 Daleham Gardens on 21 November 2017, after a fire that started in the basement ripped through the communal staircase in just 15 minutes, trapping her inside her first floor flat.  A risk assessment in

09 May 23 The landlord of a cellar ‘flat’ where a fire resulted in the death of a man has been jailed for breaching health and safety regulations. Philip Sheridan died of injuries suffered in a blaze in the unofficially converted basement where he lived in Leeds. The fire broke out on June 26 2019 and Sheridan, aged 32, died on July 6 that year as a result of complications arising from severe smoke inhalation.

24 Apr 23 Guest post by Colin Smith our planning expert Serviced accommodation short term lets are to have a new Use Class C5 , and a permitted development right to swap between standard residential use C3 and the new C5. Big change is that this will give planning authorities control by using article 4 directions to prevent C5 use. Look out for a swathe of new Article 4 directions to take away your rights. 

20 Apr 23 A landlord will have to pay £22,861 after he failed to apply for a licence to operate an HMO. Mohammad Safdar, of Reading, appealed against a penalty notice issued by the local council’s private sector housing team in July 2022, after he committed an offence under the Housing Act 2004 of having an unlicensed HMO at his property in the town. The council’s penalty notice was issued as an alternative to prosecution.

17 Apr 23 A West London landlord  from Isleworth, has been fined over £115,500 for illegally converting a side extension into a separate unit at his property. Investigations led by Hounslow council’s planning enforcement service found that Vyas had let out the separate unit for six years.  The tenant was found to be living in squalid and dirty conditions with a toilet located less than one metre from the kitchen. Vyas previously converted his extension in

07 Apr 23 A London landlord has been ordered to pay over £33,000 in costs for illegally running an HMO. The three-bedroom HMO was identified by Barking and Dagenham council as not having planning permission, either granted or pending, to change from a single dwelling. The landlord, Husna Patel, was sent letters in January and March 2019 making her aware of the planning regulation requirements, however these were ignored, and an Enforcement Notice was served

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