Currently viewing the tag: "prosecution"
Landlords Say Paying Council Tax On Empty Properties Is Unfair

Landlords Say Paying Council Tax On Empty Properties Is Unfair

NLA Campaigns For Landlord Council Tax Exemptions

Currently, the liability of private rented sector landlords to pay council tax for their unoccupied rental properties varies from region to region across the UK. Some local councils do not allow exceptions from their normal rules and even if a rental property is unoccupied, the landlord must pay council tax.

This does not even begin to become fair in any way, shape or form as the rental properties are not financially draining council funds, nor are they a burden on any other council run services as bins are not being emptied and there should be no need for any of the emergency services to be called upon.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) have recently been contacting all UK local authorities to request council tax exemptions for private rental sector landlords whose rental properties become empty between tenancies.

The task is being carried out by the NLA’s 37 regional representatives who operate across the UK in order to campaign at a local level.

Many local authorities will soon to be drafting their budget proposals for the next financial year, and the NLA are keen to negotiate the much needed council tax exemptions for landlords now.

Continue reading »

A request sent by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) using a Freedom of Information request about bad landlords has so far been ignored by Newham Council

The London borough are the first local authority in England who intend to bring in the blanket licensing of all private rental properties within its boundaries is unable to tell the RLA how many prosecutions it has brought against private landlords over the last five years.

The Residential Landlords Association made a Freedom of Information request, and described the response from Newham Council in London as ‘pitiful’.

The RLA said it was staggered that the authority, which requires all private rental property to be licensed by January 1, did not have the information to hand.

Newham insists that it is bringing in blanket licensing because it has identified problems of poor property and tenancy management.

The council said it was unable to “… provide accurate historical reports on the number of prosecutions against landlords for the last five years”.

It went on to blame “a change in recording procedures last year and a change in computerised systems for reporting purposes” for its failure to provide the figures. It said that to produce the figures would require an officer to manually interrogate all files.

Newham could only produce figures for 2011/12. These show that the council prosecuted 31 landlords.

The RLA has repeated its call for the council to abandon its plans for blanket licensing, and to use existing legislation to actively pursue and prosecute criminal landlords.

Licences applied for now will cost £150 and last five years. After January 1, the cost will rise to £500.

Licensing would usually be the responsibility of the landlord, but could also fall into the remit of the managing agent. Failure to license could mean fines of up to £20,000, and the council could seek a rent repayment order for up to 12 months of rental income. It will also not be possible to use the S.21 procedure for possession if a property has not been licensed.

The homeless charity, Shelter, has also called on all other local authorities to follow Newham Council’s lead, but they are already facing criticism over their blanket Rogue Landlord campaign.

Absentee Landlords should be forced to use good Property Management Services

 

92-year old tenant, Mrs Helen Bora, has called for absentee* landlords, to be forced to employ the services of a good property management companies after she was found to be living in a rodent-infested flat with a broken lavatory, broken windows and taps that could only be operated with a pair of pliers.

Mrs Bora, a decorated World War II veteran, had lived in the flat in Bloomsbury for 12 years but her repeated complaints to her landlord, John Garvey, who lives in Ireland, were ignored.

It was only when Mrs Bora phoned the Environmental Health Department at Camden Council about her lavatory, that inspectors took action and moved her to a new home.

When asked about her experiences, Mrs Bora commented, “It affected my health badly and I felt frustrated and angry. That’s what I’ve got against this country; that they let people who live abroad buy properties and not look after them. They should be compelled to use a property management company.”

Camden cabinet member for community safety, Abdul Hai, said: “This is a particularly upsetting case, involving a highly vulnerable lady. We have a duty to protect residents in cases like this and I hope this prosecution acts as a warning to landlords that we will always take enforcement action where necessary.”

Mr Garvey didn’t attend court and was fined £10,000 (GBP) in his absence for failing to comply with two improvement notices on the building and £3,364 (GBP) costs.

  (landlords who buy investment property in a region of the UK but who live in another part of the country or even overseas)

After opening 37 bank accounts using in excess of 23 aliases, Damien Martin James succeeded in fraudulently obtaining more than £64,000 from different High Street banks and mortgage lenders.

James, originally from Somerset, acquired a £250,000 mortgage from a High Street bank and opened accounts with Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Lloyds TSB using several different passports.

The Bournemouth Echo reported that James had fallen into mortgage arrears and had overdrafts ranging from £246 to £3,944. Whilst sentencing, Judge John Harrow said in court: “You are a thoroughly dishonest man. You gave false details to the Chelsea Building Society to gain £211,000, fell into arrears and the property had to be sold and there was a loss to them of £60,000.”

James pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud and was imprisoned for four years and two months.

Tagged with:
 
Shelter want to see an end to the bad practices of rogue landlords

RLA say bad landlords are not "Rogues" they are "Criminals!"

The UK’s largest homeless charity Shelter and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have clashed over the issue of bad landlords.

Both organisations have been using very strong words over the last few days, whilst calling for more action by the UK government to stamp out bad landlords.

Shelter is calling on the UK coalition Government to hold a “Rogue’ Landlord” summit, but the wording has angered the Residential Landlords Association.

In particular, the RLA are incensed by Shelter’s use of the word ‘Rogue’, saying it belittles what is really ‘criminal’ activity. The RLA have also accused Shelter of using emotional clichés in their action plan, which could rebound and spell danger for tenants.

The heated exchange began after the homeless charity posted a question on its website asking if the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, is doing enough to evict rogue landlords?

Shelter also launched a ‘5 point’ action plan on its website, saying that the housing minister should stop talking about stamping out rogue landlords and start taking action.

Shelter says its 5 point plan is based on 86,000 complaints by tenants about landlords.

Below are the bullet points Shelter would like to see, with The RLA’s response below:

Tougher sentencing for criminal landlords: increasing the maximum penalty for ignoring a court order to improve conditions from £5,000 to £20,000.
The RLA prefers the word criminal to rogue which has Del-Boy overtones of sympathy. Penalties need to be proportionate to the crime but without better prosecution they are just window-dressing.
The RLA calls for better training and resourcing of enforcement officials in council housing department without charging the good landlords through spurious regulation.

A rogue landlord prosecution fund: earmarking money to help councils get tough on landlords blighting their area
The RLA says, throwing more money at the problem does not produce solutions. It is about priorities. The cost of successful cases can be recovered.

New protection for brave tenants: safeguard tenants from being evicted in retaliation for whistleblowing.
Shelter must not weaken landlords’ rights to evict non-paying or anti-social tenants. Speedy resolution of tenant problems is in everyone’s interests but neither Court procedures nor Council departments work in their favour. RLA says there is scope for fast track procedures such as Alternative Dispute Resolution as used in tenancy deposit schemes.

An online landlord conviction database: a new website listing all convicted landlords to help tenants avoid criminal landlords.
RLA says this is playing to the gallery with all the risks of “Trip Advisor” sites. There is need for tenants to be aware of poor quality property which can often be detected on inspection of the property before signing a tenancy agreement and to examine appropriate certificates for gas and electrical safety and energy performance.
Better landlords are members of associations and local accreditation schemes which set property and management standards. Some councils and university schemes include property inspections. Tenants have little knowledge of their responsibilities for example to reduce humidity and stop condensation.

A rogue landlord summit convened by the Housing Minister to create a clear action plan to protect tenants.
The RLA says landlords must also retain rights to defend themselves from tenants from hell – including cases of malicious damage, false allegations and anti-social behaviour.
But action to protect tenants must be proportionate to the problem. The vast majority of good landlords must be protected from the hassle-factor just to provide statistics which look as though action is being taken. More than 70 laws and regulations exist to control the PRS – they must be used better to protect tenants and good landlords from the criminal minority.

In a statement, the RLA said: “The problem is that local authorities have failed to focus on tracking down bad landlords because of seeking to meet central Government targets to license landlords. With limited resources, they put their effort into the easy-to-check landlords who are the most visible and compliant and do not concentrate instead on those who deliberately seek to evade inspection. That’s why councils brought only 270 prosecutions of landlords last year.”

Instead, the RLA said they would welcome dialogue to produce solutions but condemn spurious regulation that would hurt good landlords but not criminal ones. The idea of a rogue landlord prosecution fund would merely throw money at the problem without producing solutions. In cases where landlords are prosecuted the costs can be recovered.

While supporting safeguards for tenants against retaliatory evictions, the RLA said Shelter must not weaken the landlords’ right to evict non-paying or anti-social tenants. The speedy resolution of tenant problems is in everyone’s interests but neither Court procedures nor Council departments work in their favour. The RLA says there is scope for fast track procedures such as Alternative Dispute Resolution as used in tenancy deposit schemes.

The RLA are calling for constructive dialogue to produce solutions including:

1. A culture change in Town Halls to work with the Private Rented Sector, (PRS), as a responsible supplier of housing. The PRS provides housing for tenants evicted by social housing, yet gets little or no support when problems arise.
2. Wider use of landlord accreditation schemes to promote self-regulation allowing councils to focus on criminal landlords.
3. Fast-track dispute resolution – 135,000 re-possession cases come to the courts a year. The average time for repossession is over 4 months after the tenant has not paid rent for two months.
4. Fair-play for landlords: direct payment of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) through tenant choice. Over 7% of LHA rents (90,000 tenancies ) are not received by landlords within 8 weeks.

There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Property

MyPropertyPowerTeam.co.uk helps property investors and landlords build their own property power team to enable them to profit from property - Visit our main site now!