Court Fines, Civil Penalties and News

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 LandlordZone.co.uk 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

06 Apr 23 Landlords in a county in England may be issued with a Compliance Notice as part of a clampdown to improve the energy efficiency of the worst-performing privately rented homes. From April 2020 it became an offence for landlords of any domestic private rented property to grant a new tenancy or continue to let any property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below E, unless the landlord is exempt. Shropshire council has

04 Apr 23 West London landlord Shashibhushan Vyas, 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

31 Mar 23 Eight criminal landlords – three of them companies – have been fined approaching half a million pounds. They were prosecuted for offences under the Housing Act 2004, including the operation of 14 unlicensed HMOs and a catalogue of breaches relating to fire safety, tenant information and maintenance of the properties. West Northamptonshire Council began investigating the gang and their activities in 2019 and attended the properties under a Housing Warrant in September

28 Mar 23 A landlord has been prosecuted after construction and renovation waste from his rental property was found dumped in Cottenham. The dumped rubbish consisted of timber, mattresses, carpets, tiles, and other household waste, and was removed from a property in Huntingdon as part of renovation works before renting the home out again. Evidence from the waste pile was investigated and checks with Huntingdonshire council revealed the owner was a landlord living in Hunstanton,

28 Mar 23 Housing Secretary Michael Gove says he’s going to make changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill currently going through Parliament in a bid to stem the growth of Airbnbs. In a Parliamentary debate last week Gove was questioned by former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who has previously campaigned against the proliferation of short lets in his Lake District constituency. Farron, who represents Westmorland and Lonsdale, told MPs: “In the Lakes

16 Mar 23 Haringey Council has been hauled up for not completing fire and electrical checks at thousands of its properties, despite handing a private landlord £2,500 for the same failing. The Regulator of Social Housing found the authority had breached parts 1.1 and 1.2 of the Home Standard, resulting in the potential for “serious detriment” to tenants. It also found that 30% of Haringey’s properties did not meet the Decent Homes Standard and identified more

15 Mar 23 One of the issues that we highlight at Landlord Licensing & Defence is that you can’t rely on letting agents to meet the legal obligations that come with renting out property in the UK.  That’s been put into focus this week with news that a letting agent has been fined £25,800 for serious fire safety breaches.  The West Northamptonshire Council found during an inspection, that someone had tampered with the electric meter

09 Mar 23 The landlord of a property dubbed a “house of horrors” by Barking and Dagenham council enforcement officers has been ordered to pay more than £8,000 by the courts. Water leaks, broken windows and doors, a lack of fire protection, exposed electrical wiring, and rat and cockroach infestation were just some of the problems uncovered during an inspection by council officers at the semi-detached house in the London borough.  The owner of the

07 Mar 23 A London Labour council is putting an extra £400,000 into enforcement against private landlords allegedly ignoring serious damp and mould issues. The additional funding – an extra 25 per cent on the original budget – will go to Hackney council’s private sector enforcement team. A statement says this adds to council’s own plans to tackle damp and mould in its own housing stock, including a five day turnaround to address all reported

03 Mar 23 Round-up of responses to government consultation on proposed national policy changes Michael Gove’s proposals to water down housing targets will lead to a significant drop in supply of new homes, according to a raft of industry responses to a consultation on proposed planning reforms. Bodies representing both developers and planners said the proposals were likely to see a drop off in the number of homes planned for by local authorities, and were

02 Mar 23 The government released a consultation paper yesterday outlining its proposal to increase fees to help fund overstretched planning departments.   You can make your views to government here From summer this year the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities wants to increase planning fees by 35% for major applications and 25% for all other applications, through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.  This means for a ‘major’ planning application – of 10

01 Mar 23 LANDLORDS VICTORY AT SUPREME COURT Supreme Court DecisionThe Question: Can a Rent Repayment Order be made against a Superior Landlord?The simple answer is the correct answer.It CANNOT be made against a superior landlord. The Supreme Court handed down the decision this morning. Quite simply a Rent Repayment Order cannot be made against a Superior Landlord.  That is the correct answer to the question.It is as Lord Burrows called it: “A Simple Answer”.Not

23 Feb 23 Landlords face an increasingly difficult situation as councils look to set up or expand their mandatory licensing schemes – leaving unsuspecting landlords with the prospect of paying thousands of pounds in fines for non-compliance. But it doesn’t have to be this way, says Phil Turtle from Landlord Licensing & Defence. He says that while the cards are stacked against honest and diligent landlords, the councils imposing hefty fines can be tackled. Phil

15 Feb 23 A landlord who failed to provide a fire detection and alarm system in an HMO has been fined a total of £13,600. Penalties were imposed by Brighton and Hove council after the landlord – which the council has not named – failed to meet three conditions of the HMO licence for the property in central Brighton. The fine is made up of £8,000 for failure to provide a fire detection and alarm

14 Feb 23 A rogue Liverpool landlord has been fined £30,000 for failing to get licences for two student HMOs – three years after it was fined £45,000 for similar offences. Trophy Homes, which claims to operate within the ‘luxury’ student, co-living and general rental sectors, admitted failing to apply for an HMO licence for the homes in Silvester Street in Vauxhall and Highgate Street in Edge Hill. It had issues with safety and poor

14 Feb 23 The Ombudsman made a severe maladministration finding for Birmingham City Council’s handling of a disrepair claim, with the council failing on multiple occasions to take action when prompted by the resident and the local MP. We found severe maladministration for Birmingham City Council’s response to disrepair after it left works incomplete and failed to carry out further inspections when it promised to do so. The finding comes as the Ombudsman is conducting a wider investigation into

12 Feb 23 In a case that could have implications for landlords across the country, Leicester City Council is appealing against a First-tier Tribunal decision that substantially reduced a civil financial penalty they had imposed for an HMO licensing offence. The case concerns a small two-storey HMO on the outskirts of Leicester which was let to four individual tenants, each on a separate AST. It was maintained in good condition and well-managed. There was a

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