penalty fine

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 hazards be completed by August 2023.

Following a re-inspection of the property in August 2023, it was evident that no action had been taken. Enforcement officers also identified a further hazard, a faulty fire control panel, posing a significant risk to residents in the event of a fire.

After a final inspection of the property in September 2023, it was clear that all instructions and notices issued to McLoughlin had been ignored and he had failed to address any of the concerns identified. The council escalated the matter and took McLoughlin to court.

Councillor Promise Knight – responsible for housing, homelessness and renters’ security – says: “Despite repeated directives, the landlord demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety and well-being of residents by failing to address any of the hazards identified.

“Everyone deserves a safe and comfortable place to live. Rogue landlords in our borough will find themselves facing hefty fines and possibly a criminal conviction. We will use whatever powers we have to hold them to account.” 

“Said Phil Turtle, director of compliance services with Landlord Licensing & Defence [link to home page], “It is interesting that London Borough of Brent has used the criminal court for this action. Brent is one of the most enforcing councils in the country and 9 1/2 times out of 10 they would issue heavy civil penalty fines. In such a case it would be at least £28,000 possibly twice that (which money of course the council gets to keep).

“So why would the council forego £28,000+ in revenue? The strategy councils use when they want to ‘take a landlord out of the market’ is to first take them to court and gain a criminal conviction. This allows them to declare the Landlord ‘Not Fit and Proper’ after which they take a case to the First Tier Tribunal where they are almost certain to gain a ‘Banning Order’ and Hey Presto the landlord cannot operate and his business is destroyed.

“Landlords need to start to understand the power and motivation of these Post-Office-Like Enforcers”

McLoughlin pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the requirements of the improvement notice: he was fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £9,212.50.

Link to original article

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