Landlord fined £500 for illegally changing locks on couple with young kids

A man was fined for illegally changing the locks on a house rented by a family with two young children.

Belfast landlord Ciaran Doherty was fined £500 in court on Tuesday for unlawfully depriving the family of occupation of a house they were renting from him.

Both the couple’s children were under two years old at the time of the incident in April last year.

The offence was prosecuted as it was contrary to Article 54(1) of the Rent (NI) Order 1978, as amended by the Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006.

Mr Doherty was also ordered to pay a £15 offender levy, £200 in legal costs and £17 in court costs, after a successful prosecution by Belfast City Council.

Councillor Daniel Baker said,

“I’m shocked. No one anywhere should be locked out of their home. There is a housing crisis in west Belfast. More social and affordable homes are desperately needed.

“Landlords should be registered and regulated by Belfast city council and greater enforcement powers granted.”


Ex-wife receives £115MILLION in one of UK’s biggest ever divorce settlements

An ex-wife has been granted £115million in one of the UK’s biggest ever divorce settlements.

The woman and her former husband cannot be named for legal reasons after Justice Baker concluded there was “little if any” public interest in identifying the chief executive of a company behind a “very well-known product.”

The case was heard at private family court hearings in London.

Justice Baker said the ex-wife wanted a £230 million lump sum but her businessman ex-husband, who is in his early 50s, offered just £20 million.

The judge said, “Their story is therefore typical of countless other couples whose cases come before the family court.

“What makes their case unusual is that the husband is an extremely successful businessman.

“Although he is not himself a well-known public figure, his products are widely used by millions of people across the world.”

Lawyers representing them argued that publicity would lead to a “serious interference” in their everyday life.

NHS groups welcome immigration change for doctors and nurses

The Home Office said foreign medics are to be excluded from the government’s cap on skilled migration.

NHS bosses said the move would be a “huge relief” to health trusts.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was “extremely welcome.”

The Royal College of GPs said it was a “great step forward.”

The cap sets the limit for all non-EU skilled workers at 20,700 a year.

The British Medical Journal has said that between December 2017 and March 2018 more than 1,500 visa applications from doctors with job offers in the UK were refused as a result of the cap on workers from outside the European Economic Area.

The move would also create space for thousands more immigrants in areas like science and IT.

Sunder Katwala, director of the immigration think-tank British Future, said removing medical personnel from the visa cap would be a “sensible move”.

He said: “It never made sense to turn away doctors and nurses that the NHS needs. It also frees up Tier 2 visa places for other employers who need high-skilled staff to fill vacancies.

“It’s the right short-term fix for 2018. In the longer term, Britain will need better training of doctors, engineers and others here in the UK, together with an immigration system that welcomes people with the skills we need.

“But perhaps this is a sign that Home Secretary Sajid Javid is willing to take a bolder and more flexible approach to immigration, and deliver the kind of system that Britain will need after we leave the EU.”




Lord Chief Justice highlights online divorce scheme in speech

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett delivered a speech on ‘the age of reform’, at the fifth BAILII lecture.

He discussing the courts modernisation programme and highlighted the online divorce pilot scheme, saying that it was ‘working well.’

“The (online divorce) pilot has now moved to general availability since 1 May. Over 600 applications were received in the first week and a total of 2,600 as of this Monday. In the paper-based world, an uncontested divorce requires a petitioner to fill out a form and file it with the court. Many people fill them in themselves others pay lawyers to do it for them. They are not difficult but the rejection rate illustrates how lawyers sometimes fail to appreciate that what is our meat and drink proves indigestible for others. 40% of those forms have to be sent back to the applicant. They are rejected because they had not been completed properly. The form checking is done by District Judges or fee paid deputies. It is mind-numbing work which does not call for the skill of a judge or the cost involved in deploying a judge to such work. But a 40% rejection rate also wastes the time of the petitioners and of HMCTS in processing the forms. The paper form takes a petitioner about an hour to complete. The new online process takes roughly 25 minutes; less than half the time. And it is designed (as with so much we all do online) to prevent a person moving on to the next stage unless the earlier stage has been completed fully and correctly. The rejection rate is now only 0.5%. The benefits all round are enormous. The President of the Family Division has been singing its praises at every turn. It is the shape of things to come.’

Landlord fined for housing family in dangerous property

A landlord from Peterborough who housed tenants, including young children, in an overcrowded and dangerous property has been fined after he failed to make improvements.

Raashid Alyas was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay another £1,000 in other costs at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court after admitting a number of offences relating to the home.

The court heard how Peterborough City Council officers visited the home in March 2016. They said the home was suitable for four people to live there, yet a family of seven were living there.

The council inspection also discovered the house had no smoke alarms, fire hazards surrounding an electric shower and a kitchen light switch, problems with the double glazing and roof insulation and further problems with damp and mould.

The council ordered Alyas to make improvements to the property yet he failed to carry them out. The family continued to live there as Alyas claimed they had nowhere else to go. They have since been rehoused.

Alyas pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with a housing improvement notice, and one count of failing to comply with a housing prohibition order.

He was fined £4,000, and ordered him to pay £910 costs,and a £170 victim surcharge.

Supreme Court rules in divorce maintenance case

The Supreme Court considered whether a businessman should increase maintenance to his former wife 16 years after their divorce.

Last year Graham Mills was ordered by the Court of Appeal to increase monthly maintenance payments to his former wife, Maria, from £1,100 per month to £1,441 for life as she was “unable to support her basic needs.”

Following their divorce settlement in 2002, Mrs Mills was given a lump sum to buy a house mortgage-free but had “unwisely” traded up to live in more upmarket properties. She was subsequently left with a mortgage and without any remaining capital.

She is presently living in rented accommodation and wants her maintenance payments to be increased.

Mr Mills is asking the UK’s highest court to reduce the maintenance payments. Mr Mills has since remarried and is arguing that he wants to move on with his life.

Landlord fined for renting to multiple occupants without a licence

A landlord in Immingham has been fined £1380 after he was found renting a house to multiple occupants without a licence.

Yordan Kaloyanov, 37, was taken to court by North East Lincolnshire Council after its housing enforcement officers and Humberside Police raided a house on Pelham Road.

Kaloyanov was found to be renting the property to multiple people without a licence.

Officers also found that the property had no interlinked fire alarms, no fire doors or emergency lighting. The exit doors did not have the required thumb-turn locks and there were no emergency contact details for the manager or owner of the property.

Following the findings of the inspection, the property was issued with an Emergency Prohibition under the Housing Act requiring the owner to carry out emergency remedial works.

Kaloyanov was subsequently prosecuted and was found guilty of six offences under the housing act and handed fines of £100 per offence. Additional costs of £750 and a victim surcharge of £30 meant the overall costs incurred to the plaintiff amounted to some £1380.


Landlord fined £11,600

A landlord from Devizes has been fined £11,600 for exposing tenants including a family with children to dangerous living conditions.

Ansar Butt, 39, admitted 24 breaches of the Houses of Multiple Occupation Regulation and four counts of failing to undertake works following the issue of an improvement notice.

The trial at Swindon Magistrates Court found the most serious defects included faulty fire detection, exposed wiring, no hot water, no heating and significant disrepair.

Mr Butt was ordered to pay costs of £1,894.50 and a victim surcharge of £170.