Landlord fined £20,000 after house fire

A landlord was fined £20,000 after admitting he put the lives of five residents at risk.

Residents became trapped upstairs during a fire in Worthing last year, weeks after their landlord was told their fire alarm did not work.

The judge said Terry Millis, 62, had a ‘high level’ of culpability and fined him £20,000 for ‘failures’ in the lead up to the fire.

The court heard Millis had contacted a company to repair the fire alarm two months before the fire, but the work had not been done.

Sentencing him, district judge Tessa Szagun said Millis had a ‘high level’ of culpability.

She said, “The purpose of sentencing in this type of case is to protect the safety of individuals living in such premises by ensuring that there is no financial gain by any person cutting corners.

“(There is) also a necessity to deter others from doing so.”

Millis was fined £20,000, reduced from £30,000 by his guilty plea, and he was ordered to pay £1,743.47 costs to West Sussex County Council.

Landlord fined £8,000 for 16 offences

A landlord has been fined over £8,000 for a total of 16 offences under the Housing Act, according to Hastings Borough Council.

Thomas Wallace pleaded guilty to non-compliance with a statutory improvement notice at his property and was fined £2,667.

Wallace was further required to pay £432 costs and £170 victim surcharge.

Mr Wallace was also sentenced for 15 previous offences for which he pleaded guilty to. He was fined £367 per offence and required to pay costs of £435 per offence.

A spokesman for the council said Mr Wallace was fined £8,171 in total and was required to pay costs of £6,912.

Councillor Andy Batsford said, “Given the large number of properties owned by Mr Wallace, it is disappointing that Mr Wallace was not fined even more.

“Fortunately, most landlords do not behave in this way.

“We want responsible landlords in this town and unlicensed landlords will be advised, warned and then taken to court for operating illegally.

“We want decent housing for all in our town.”

Rogue tenant jailed for 16 weeks

A head tenant has been jailed for 16 weeks after he changed the locks on a property that was illegally sublet to 35 men.

Ilie Florin Dragusin evicted the men and removed their belongings from a converted three-bedroom semi-detached house.

Brent council officers found the 35 tenants to be living in substandard conditions in an unlicensed HMO in September last year.

Dragusin was one of three head tenants at the property in Kingsbury.

Councillor Eleanor Southwood, the council cabinet member with responsibility for housing and welfare reform, said,

“This custodial sentence sends a strong message to anyone thinking that they can get away with illegally evicting their tenants. The punishment is prison. We will help people in the private rented sector who are suffering from the actions of rogue landlords, sub-letters and agents.”

Dragusin had previously ignored four sets of warnings by enforcement officers not to change the locks on the property.

 

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.”

 

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.