29 Oct 2020

Northampton council is seeking a so-called Charging Order against a landlord who failed to carry out improvements to her property and then ignored the resulting £12,400 civil penalty.

In December 2018, council officers carried out an inspection of the property in the town, owned by Mrs Alle Sabboth.

They found multiple category one hazards such as faulty door locks and inadequate plug sockets and holes in the ceiling, and issued an Improvement Notice.

When officers revisited the property in January 2019 they found no improvement works had been undertaken, with tenants still living in the same hazardous conditions.

For failing to comply with the Improvement Notice, a £12,400 civil penalty was issued on January 22 this year that Sabboth neglected to pay.

She filed an appeal against the penalty to the First Tier Tribunal several months past the time limit – this was refused on the grounds that she had failed to provide a good reason for an out-of-time appeal.

The charging order will allow the council to enforce a sale on the property and remove her as the landlord.

Although Sabboth will still be able to act as landlord in future, the council says it could seek a banning order preventing her from operating properties permanently if she commits a repeat offence.

With the council’s support, the tenants will also be able to apply for a rent repayment order to a First-tier Tribunal – allowing them to claim up to one year’s rent.

A council spokesman says: “We are taking a hard line against landlords who do not take their responsibilities towards tenants seriously, and will use the most stringent measures available to ensure necessary improvements are made in cases where they are neglectful.

“Unbelievably, this is not the worst property we have investigated and taken action against, which is why I strongly urge landlords to ensure they are fulfilling their duty of care to their tenants.”

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