Tenants lives put at risk by landlord in shared house

A landlord has been fined after putting the lives of his tenants at risk.

Nasir Bashir Ali was prosecuted by housing officials for safety breaches linked to a shared house he owns in Hinckley.

Officials became aware of the issues following a routine inspection of the licensed premises.

Ali admitted 10 offences when he appeared before Leicester Magistrates after failing to meet conditions of the licence to run a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

 

The offences included failing to maintain a working fire alarm system and providing certification of its proper maintenance. Officers also identified defective fire doors.

 

Ali was fined £2,780 for the offences and full costs of £1,961 were awarded to the prosecuting authority Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council.

 

He was also ordered to pay victim surcharge of £170.

Increase in first-time buyer home lending

Lending to first time buyers is up in the first quarter of 2019, according to figures from UK Finance.
In Scotland there were 6,760 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in Scotland, a 4.5% increase from the same quarter last year.
Furthermore, there were 6,620 new home mover mortgages, an increase of 6.6%.
The figures also found that there were 9,670 new home owner remortgages completed in Scotland, the highest volume of remortgaging in Scotland in a decade.
There were 3,450 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in Wales, a rise of 1.2%.
In Northern Ireland there were 2,440 new first-time buyer mortgages completed, an increase of 11.4%.
There were 9,410 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in London, a rise of 1.6%.

Letting agency accused of ‘locking out tenants’

A letting agency has been accused of illegally evicting tenants and taking their belongings.
According to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, three tenants, who rented rooms through Flintons, said they arrived home to find locks had been changed and rooms emptied.
Some said their possessions had not yet been returned. Others said their belongings were given back in bin bags, left on the street outside the agency.
Flintons, in east London, said it “strongly denies” the claims.
As reported by the BBC, one man who rented a room, through Flintons, said he was charged extra fees for late payment of rent, which he disputes and was in discussions with Flintons to resolve.
He further claims that in December 2018, he arrived home to find the key to his room would not work. After a locksmith eventually let him in, he said his room was empty, and alleges that Flintons had taken his clothes, towels and even his passport.
Flintons disputes that Julius was locked out of his room or that his possessions were removed.
Flintons further said it will “vigorously defend” any legal claim.

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.

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.”

Average house prices in Scotland have seen the first annual decrease for almost three years

Latest statistics from the UK House Price Index show properties in February had an average cost of £145,762 – a drop of 0.2% on the same month in 2018.

This is the first annual decrease in Scotland since March 2016.

House prices also fell by 3.1% between January and February this year.

Janet Egdell, Registers of Scotland accountable officer, said, “The average price of a property in Scotland in February 2019 signalled the first annual decrease since March 2016, falling by 0.2% in the year to February 2019.

“Prices increased in around two-thirds of local authority areas and different property types showed a mixed picture, indicating that the market is highly variable across the country in this time of uncertainty.”

The UK average house price was £226,234 – an increase of 0.6% on February last year and a decrease of 0.8% on the previous month.

No-fault evictions to be banned in England

No-fault evictions are now to be banned in England.

This ruling means private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice without good reason.

The government says the new plans are in place to protect renters from “unethical” landlords and give them more long-term security.

 

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced similar plans for Wales, while in Scotland new rules requiring landlords to give a reason for ending tenancies were introduced in 2017.

There are no plans in Northern Ireland to end no-fault evictions where a fixed-term tenancy has come to an end.

Currently, landlords can give tenants as little as eight weeks’ notice after a fixed-term contract ends.

Under the government’s new plans, landlords would have to provide a “concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law” in order to bring tenancies to an end.

 

Research shows number of last-time buyers has increased

New research reveals the number of last-time buyers in the housing market has increased.

The research found that one in three home moves are now made by last-time buyers aged 55 and over.

The study from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) shows that the numbers have almost doubled in the last decade and many buyers in this sector are cash buyers with less than a fifth taking out a mortgage.

The study also found that approximately 63% of older home owners own their property outright, and they account for the bulk, 84%, of all outright owners, holding a disproportionate share of housing equity at £1.8 trillion out of a total £2.6 trillion.

The report says that this strongly suggests that most last-time buyer activity, and much of the growth in that activity, has to date been cash-financed.

 

 

Landlord refused license because of the conditions of his properties

A landlord has lost his fight to be able to hold a licence to rent properties again after a tribunal found he wasn’t a “fit and proper” landlord.

Derrick Morgan appealed to the Residential Property Tribunal after Rent Smart Wales (RSW) refused to grant him a landlord licence.

 

However, the tribunal has now dismissed his appeal, meaning he will not be able to rent properties.

The decision by the Residential Property Tribunal stated,

 

“The concerns related to a number of complaints that had been received by NPT concerning the applicant and which related to the poor condition of his properties and allegations of illegal eviction of tenants.”

The report said,

“It appears as though NPT had obtained a county court warrant permitting them to gain access to the site and that the inspection was part of a multi-agency initiative. Police officers were also in attendance at the visit. The Applicant had not been given advance notice of the visit.”

Rent Smart Wales wrote to Mr Morgan to notify him that his application for a licence had been refused because of “the condition of his properties, the management practices which he employed, the nature of his spent convictions and his association with his son, Ryan Morgan, who had unspent convictions.”

Mr Morgan, 60, appealed against that decision and the tribunal listed the matter for hearing and inspection for January, 2019.

 

During the inspection the tribunal was shown a number of properties on the site operated by Mr Morgan.

the report said, “It was clear from the inspection that several of the properties were in the process of having work carried out to them. In all save one property, there was no evidence at all that the properties were occupied. However, it was clear that the properties were not of a high standard.”

The tribunal report added, “When asked what types of tenant he housed, Mr Morgan replied that they were all in dire straits when they came to him.

“They were homeless, sleeping on park benches or had come to him via government units. He referred to them as being a ‘low class type of tenant’.”