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LGA call for tougher measures on rogue landlords

21st September 2015

The Local Government Association (LGA) are calling for stronger sentencing, tougher licensing conditions and potential blacklisting for rogue landlords. All too often landlords found ripping off their tenants have not been flagged by pre-license tests and have shrugged off paltry fines when councils have taken them to court. Councils need greater powers to tackle rogue landlords who are taking advantage of residents struggling to find decent housing in the private rented sector. In response to a governmen...

Enfield council crack down on rogue letting agents

18th September 2015

Enfield Council’s trading standards team have been working in partnership with the housing enforcement team and Enfield Citizens Advice Bureau to crack down on rogue letting agents. Since October 2014 all letting agents and property management businesses must register with a redress scheme so that tenants and landlords have an independent body to go to if they are unhappy with the service they receive. Failure to belong to a scheme can result in a fixed penalty fine of £5,000. To ensure c...

Council forces entry to service tenants gas bolier

18th September 2015

Carmarthenshire County Council has executed a warrant to gain entry into a Llanelli tenant’s home after failed attempts to service his gas boiler. Local magistrates supported the council’s case to force entry into the property in Llwynhendy in order to allow gas contractors to check and service the boiler. The council’s new Housing Enforcement and Solutions team, working with colleagues in Public Protection, applied for the entry warrant under The Housing Act 2004 after t...

Fraudster who used six different aliases convicted of £80k benefit scam

17th September 2015

A Barnet resident who falsified multiple benefit claims against Barnet and Haringey Councils has been jailed for more than three years.  Ali Moradifard, 39, from Pinnacles Close, Stanmore, HA7, was found guilty of one count of dishonestly making a false application for benefit under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and nine counts of Fraud by False Representation under the Fraud Act 2006.  All counts related to housing benefit claims against London Boroughs of Barnet and Ha...

Landlord fined thousands for breaking licensing rules

17th September 2015

A landlord who put his tenants’ safety at risk by knowingly flaunting licensing conditions has been made to pay more than £10,000. The landlord was fined £5,000 for allowing more people to live at a shared property than his licence allowed, and a further £4,000 for breaching fire and safety regulations after pleading guilty at a Manchester Magistrates’ hearing. He was also told to pay the city council’s costs of £1,350, along with a victim of crime surchar...

"Major error" in rented housing regulations

16th September 2015

A major drafting error in government regulations affecting the private rented sector risks undermining confidence in new legislation being applied to the sector. The Deregulation Act, passed prior to the general election, provides ministers with the power to introduce a new standard form for landlords to complete and provide to a tenant when seeking to regain possession of a property on a no fault basis, known as a Section 21 notice. With the form due to become legally binding from the 1st Oct...

Letting agents told "be compliant or face fine"

16th September 2015

Lettings agents and property managers are reminded that they need to register with a Redress Scheme or they risk a £5,000 fine. A year ago, the government brought in new rules which mean that all lettings agents and property managers involved in letting agency work and/or property management work in the private rented sector are required to be registered with a secretary of state approved redress scheme. The idea behind it is to help tenants who need to complain about letting agent fees, inac...

Opinion: No accounting for good leasehold management?

16th September 2015

By Christine Land, housing litigation at Forbes Solicitors.  Some good news for landlords in the recent “Elysian Fields” Upper Tribunal decision, a joint appeal from two decisions of the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).  (Elysian Fields Management Company v Nixon; Imperial Buildings Management Company Ltd v John Nixon [2015] UKUT 0427 (LC)). Whilst the safest approach, when seeking to recover service charges, will always be to follow the service charge provisions of ...

Council taking firm action to clampdown on rent arrears bills

15th September 2015

Barking and Dagenham Council are taking firm action to clampdown on rent arrears bills. Although the majority of council tenants pay their rent promptly, the council believes "it is not fair to allow the minority to duck their social responsibility and evade payments." Now the council, which has 18,780 properties, has started a campaign of door knocking on those that don’t pay their rent. The door knocking campaign has proved successful with some remarkable results being achieved. The cou...

Landlord hit with £7,000 bill

15th September 2015

An Islington landlord has been left with a bill of more than £7,000 after failing to licence a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Christos Loizou, of Hall Lane, Chingford, admitted being in charge of a licensable HMO - a home occupied by more than one household - that was not licensed on 14 May 2015. It is a legal requirement for HMOs of this type to be licensed, to make sure residents are provided with sufficient amenities and that these higher risk properties provide protection for occ...