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.

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.

Landlord “forced” tenant to live in dangerous property

A landlord has been found guilty of ‘forcing’ a tenant to live in a dangerous property which had electrical faults, no fire alarms and insecure windows.

Officials from Bassetlaw Council found nearly 20 areas of concern at Susan Elizabeth Jubb’s property, declaring it too dangerous to live in.

Jubb has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling almost £6,500 after failing to comply with an improvement notice after an appearance at Mansfield County Court.

Jubb pleaded guilty and faces a fine of up to £2,666, as well as paying the council’s legal costs of £3,519.37 and a victim surcharge of £266, totalling £6,451.37.

Issues at the house include no fire alarms, fire damage to the rear of the building, no adequate fire escapes, concerns over the security of the property after the front door had been nailed shut, insecure windows, inadequate internal doors, electrical faults and loose cabling, missing floorboards, loose carpets on a steep staircase and concerns over the heating system and insulation of the property.

The property is now the subject of a prohibition order which means that Jubb cannot allow anyone to live there until all of the work has been completed to the satisfaction of housing officers.

Rogue landlords should have properties taken away say MPs

According to a report by the housing, communities and local government committee, councils should be given powers to seize the properties of the “worst” landlords when accommodation fails to meet proper legal standards.

The committee has called out a “clear power imbalance” in parts of the private rental sector. They further said that landlords should face tougher punishment when they commit offences.

MPs have also called for greater protection for tenants who are living in poor conditions. These include mould or faulty wiring. They added that tenants who feel like they can’t complain to their landlord because they’re scared of “retaliatory” action should also be protected.

At present, rogue landlords face civil penalties and a fine for offences.

However, sometimes the fines issued by the courts are too small to even make the prosecution worthwhile.

In the case of the “most egregious offences,” where landlords relied on exploiting vulnerable tenants, the report said councils should be able to confiscate their properties.

 

New energy rules for landlords come into force

From April 1 the Government’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards came into force.

This means renters may be able to save up to £1,150 a year on their energy bills.

Landlords will now have to improve the energy efficiency of their properties and risk facing fines of up to £5,000 if they don’t.

The new scheme is designed to improve the insulation of rented homes in England and Wales.

The changes mean that properties have to have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E.

The certificate ranks properties’ energy efficiency from A – the most well insulated and energy-saving homes –  to G, which is the worst.

The new rules will initially apply to only new tenancies and renewals before extending to all existing tenancies by 2020 – and means that landlords will no longer be able to legally rent out homes with an EPC rating of F or G.

The new rules aim to make living conditions for renters, particularly vulnerable tenants, in the private sector much better as well as reducing energy bills.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, says that the average energy bill cost for those living in a band G home is £2,860, compared to just £1,170 for those living in a band E property.

New ‘digital mortgages’ launched

New “digital mortgages” have been launched as the Land Registry moves the process online to save time and inconvenience for homeowners.

The Land Registry announced the first mortgage deed not to have been signed with a pen and paper has been accepted as part of a trial with Coventry Building Society.

It said a new online verification service which phases out the need for signature witnesses and posting pieces of paper will be launched nationally within two months.

To prove their identity homeowner will need to digitally sign their mortgage deeds and enter their personal information into a Gov.uk verification portal.

The digital system will initially only be available for remortgage customers.

This means first time buyers and other customers taking out a new mortgage will still need to use pen and paper for the foreseeable future.

 

Residents take landlords and managers to court over ‘skyrocketing’ management fees

Residents living in an apartment block in Kingswood have taken the building’s owners and managers to court over “skyrocketing” and “extortionate” management fees.

Residents of Grantham Apartments in Two Mile Hill claim the amount they pay per month to management company ABC Estates for general works and repairs has more than doubled in the past few years.

The property owner and manager have also demanded a further £50,000 from the 13 apartment owners in order to pay for “major works” to be carried on the property.

A civil hearing was held to determine whether the management fees being charged and the amount being asked for to carry out major works are reasonable.

The hearing was the second tribunal between the residents and the companies.

The initial one took place last year and resulted in favour of the tenants who had claimed ABC Estates was overcharging them in maintenance charges and management fees.

Their decision to return to court was induced by a further rise in fees, and the demand for £50k to pay for works on the building.

Christine Crowe, a resident who was nominated by the tenants to represent them at the hearing said: “We can’t afford all these prices and charges going up and up each year with less and less work being done.”

 

Sheffield landlord who illegally evicted tenant avoids jail

A landlord who illegally evicted a tenant and forced her to sleep on the streets has avoided a jail term.

Naveed Hussain, 36, was accused of forcing Saba Habte out of a flat above a takeaway she was renting with no warning.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard Ms Habte was told to leave the flat on December 15, 2016.

When Ms Habte challenged him, Hussain replied ‘it is my house and I can do as I choose’ and took the key from the door and put it in his pocket.

Hussain was described as having an ‘attitude of contempt’ towards Ms Habte by Salvation Army Officers who later assisted Ms Habte with the retrieval of her belongings.

Hussain pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

Hussain will have to carry 250 hours unpaid work and attend 15 days at a rehabilitation activity requirement. He was further ordered to pay costs of £919 and a surcharge of £150.

This was the second time Hussain had been prosecuted for offences of a similar nature.

Landlord hit with bill after failing to clear up mess

A landlord has been hit with a fine after ignoring a court order to clear up mess.

Javaid Iqbal, 51, has been told to pay more than £1,300 in fines and costs after Stoke-on-Trent City Council decided to prosecute.

Council investigators were called in after residents complained about domestic waste, furniture, bricks, tiles, glass, scaffolding poles, planks and rubble being abandoned.

An enforcement notice was issued ordering Iqbal to clean up the site but he failed to undertake the work.

Rebecca Cooper, prosecuting said, “Complaints were received about the garden area at his property. A site visit was undertaken and waste material was found.

“An enforcement notice was sent which required the required the waste to be removed and taken to landfill and the land to cease to be used for the storage and importation of waste materials.

“The compliance period ended on February 1, 2017 and a site visit was undertaken on February 9 and the waste materials were still found so the notice wasn’t complied with.”

Iqbal pleaded guilty to breaching an enforcement notice at North Staffordshire Justice Centre.

However, he claimed the rubbish was mainly left there by a tenant who owed him £60,000 in rent and fly-tippers.

Mark Bromley, mitigating, said, “This is a property that he has owned for the past 10 years and he has never lived there himself. It is a fairly secluded and wouldn’t be seen by anybody travelling along Lightwood Road.

“The house has been rented and the last tenant was nothing but trouble by not paying rent and causing deliberate damage to the property. The tenant owed him up to £60,000 in unpaid rent.

“The vast majority of the waste has been deposited by the tenant and people driving up to the land and dumping it.

“Mr Iqbal decided that he would remove the tenant and he was evicted in October last year. It cost him £2,000 and took over a year. The masterplan was to get the tenant out and clear the site and because of this hassle he didn’t get round to clearing the site in the month he should have.

“Much of it now has been removed but he said that he intends to get some heavy machinery on site to level it out.”