Landlord is handed £6k bill for flouting vital court orders

A landlord who breached health and safety regulations and regularly flouted court summons has been ordered to pay more than £6,700.

Following a trial at Colchester Magistrates’ Court, Colin Smith was found guilty of contravening a health and safety notice requiring a “suitable and sufficient” assessment.

Victoria Jempson, prosecuting, said, “A Colchester Council health and safety officer had been part of a team taking part in a campaign around the town centre.

“In April 2017 the officer made inquiries and various failed attempts to meet Smith who had made promises to provide the assessments.

“He was issued with an enforcement notice in September 2017 that required him to under take a reassessment.

“He requested an extension to the end of October 2017 but what was provided by Smith to the council was not suitable or sufficient to protect the safety of employees.”

He was taken to court by Colchester Council, but failed to turn up for several hearings before finally being found guilty by magistrates.





Jewish man says he is being discriminated against divorce payout

A Jewish man claims he is being discriminated against because of his religious beliefs in a ‘very acrimonious’ divorce from his estranged wife.

Alan Moher, 54, was ordered to hand over a £1.6million lump sum to wife Caroline, 46, by the Family Court as well as £1,850 per month in maintenance payments until he grants her a ‘Get’ – a document that officially ends a marriage under Jewish law.

Mr Moher, however, claims a Get must be granted ‘freely’ and only when financial ties between a couple are ended, adding the maintenance payments would therefore invalidate the religious divorce.

The couple who have three children, split up in 2016 after 21 years together.

Mrs Moher said the Get would be valid because it would immediately end the monthly payments thus cut off financial ties between them, meaning there is ‘no good reason to withhold it.’

Mr Moher is fighting to get the Family Court ruling overturned claiming it has ‘trapped’ him in the marriage and will leave him paying her maintenance ‘indefinitely.’

He further argued the £1.6million payout was ‘unfair’ because it was 85 per cent of the family’s wealth.

Lawyers for Mrs Moger say the lump sum was fair because the husband had ‘failed to provide adequate disclosure’ of his finances.

Lawyers for Mr Moher said,

‘The phraseology of the order prevents the husband from issuing a Get.

‘It is something which has to be given freely, after financial ties between the parties have come to an end.

‘The imposition of a financial sanction on a party, in a bid to force them to grant a Get, invalidates the Get under religious law.

‘The husband is thus left in a position where, due to the element of compulsion placed on him by the order of the court, he is unable to grant a valid Get.

‘The judge’s order means that, after paying the lump sum in full, the husband is obliged to continue to pay spousal periodical payments to the wife in the sum of £1,850 per month – until he gives her a Get.’

However Sally Harrison QC, for Mrs Moher, said, ‘It was reasonable for the judge to make an order which enabled the wife to be supported financially until such time as the Get was obtained.

‘As the judge made clear, the order would be discharged once the Get was given and there was no good reason for the husband to withhold the Get.

‘The husband was invited to give the standard undertaking in relation to the Get. He declined to do so.

‘In such circumstances, it was open to the court to consider how to enforce compliance. Any difficulty would be of the husband’s own making.’


Firms fined £310,000 after father-of-three falls 10m to the ground

Two companies have been fined a total of £310,000 for their part in a “wholly avoidable” incident after a man suffered life-changing injuries, including an open fracture to his femur and multiple fractures to his pelvis and hips, when he fell from a factory roof.

Brian Robinson, 38, fell through a roof light onto the factory floor below.

The industrial roofer had been attaching cladding to an adjoining building when he fell 9.7 metres.

Mr Robinson, a father-of-three, is still unable to work, more than three years after the incident.

An investigation found the original scaffold that had been constructed on the roof had been removed prior to cladding works being completed.

Man who faked car crashes is jailed

A man who fabricated car crashes in order to claim thousands of pounds from insurance companies has been jailed for 10 months.

Leeds Crown Court heard how Motondo, 40, who preached at a Pentecostal church in Leeds, bought policies using personal details of two people in his congregation and then rang insurers posing as them.

Motondo admitted fraud and money laundering.

Police said Motondo “was completely immoral in his actions.”

An investigation was initiated by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department after suspicions were raised.

Motondo pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by misrepresentation and one count of possessing criminal proceeds.


Landlord fined for renting out unsafe house

A woman has been awarded compensation after her landlord was taken to court.

 Andrew Watson, from Chapeltown, was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay victim compensation of £1,000 after he repeatedly ignored legal notices served by Leeds City Council regarding the condition of a house he was renting out in Chapeltown.

A council officer likened the property’s state to that of slums in the 1950s and 60s.

The house was found to be full of hazards including an inadequate fire alarm and faulty electrics and was in a general state of disrepair.

The house was further found to have extensive mould and damp, a hole in a ceiling and rubbish in the yard.

The council’s housing team, who brought the prosecution against Watson, said that it was unusual for a rogue landlord’s offences to warrant them being required to compensate a tenant as well as paying a fine.




Landlord hit with huge fine

A landlady has been fined £24,000 after lying to her tenants and the local authorities. 

Diana Thompson was prosecuted by Brent Council and prosecuted for failure to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and failure to comply with fire safety regulations.

Thompson convinced tenants living in her unlicensed, detached two-storey HMO property that she was a lodger.

The property was raided last year following a tip-off from council tax officers that Thompson was trying to claim a single person’s discount when in fact she was living in a home that she was also letting to seven other people.

When the property was visited by council enforcement officers, Thompson lied, claiming she was a relative of the landlady and that the first floor of the property was owned by someone else. 

Thompson’s fines included £15,000 for failure to licence a property, £5,000 for failing to comply with fire safety regulations, £4,678 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Home Office investigated over English test cheating claims

A government watchdog has launched an investigation into the Home Office’s decision to accuse about 34,000 international students of cheating in English language tests.

Over 1,000 students have been removed from the UK as a result of the accusation and hundreds have spent time in detention.

A large numbers of students say they were wrongly accused.

Over 300 cases are pending in the court of appeal as hundreds attempt to clear their names.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has been making preliminary inquiries into the government’s handling of the issue since the beginning of the year, and has now announced that it will proceed with a formal investigation. The body is expected to report its findings in late May or June.

A Home Office spokesperson said, “We have been supporting the National Audit Office in its work on this investigation since the start of the year. We will consider the findings of the report once it is published.”

Tenant damaged three-bedroom house causing £7,000 worth of damage

A tenant caused over £7,000 worth of damage to a property before leaving the premises whilst still owing 11 months of rent.

Landlord Michael Walker claimed his three-bedroom property was left in devastating condition with every room vandalised.

Mould was found all over the ceiling, dirty dishes were piled on the kitchen counter and the living area had large holes in the flooring, while plaster had been chipped off the walls.

Mr Walker said the house is now infested with flies and is plagued by a rancid smell.

He said, “The tenant hop-scotched overnight and left the property in complete disrepair.

“It has been left unlivable. It’s shocking.

“It is an absolute mess at the moment. It looks like he has been doing house clearances and it has all piled up.”

He added, “That house wasn’t a buy-to-let property, it used to be my family home. I have had the property over 30 years.

“The only reason I rented it out was because I went and stayed with my 87-year-old dad at his house because he was ill.

“It has been destroyed completely – every single room.”