Landlord who rented out Islington garage as a flat ordered to pay £3,000 legal costs after appealing council Prohibition Order

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 - Islington Council

Landlords who allowed their Islington garage to be occupied as a substandard flat have been ordered to pay more than £3,000 after behaving unreasonably in appeal proceedings against Islington Council.

The case involved a single storey garage in Jackson Road, Islington that was unfit for habitation. It had no basic facilities such as gas, electricity and water supply so in October 2016 Islington Council served a Prohibition Order under the Housing Act 2004 to prevent the landlord renting it out.

In response the landlords appealed against the Order and took the Council to the First-tier Tribunal. The Council tried to reach a settlement with the landlords by delaying the operation of Prohibition Order for three months and reducing the fee for serving the Order to £200. This would have significantly reduced costs and saved a great deal of council time and resources.

Despite the council’s efforts to settle the case, the landlord did not even pay the hearing fee and the Tribunal withdrew their appeal. Given the landlord had not complied with Tribunal directions and had apparently wasted public money the council decided to apply for its costs The Judge, NK Nicol, concluded that there was no reasonable explanation why the council’s offer of a three month respite for the Prohibition Order should not have be accepted.

He further stated that the landlords had “behaved unreasonably in bringing an appeal which they never intended to pursue properly and never did pursue properly. They deliberately failed to comply with the Tribunal’s directions and rebuffed the Respondent’s [Islington Council’s] reasonable efforts to dispose of the proceedings”.

As a result of the decision the council was awarded costs of £3,111.50.

Jan Hart, Islington Council’s service director for public protection said:

This garage had no basic facilities and should not have been let out as a place to live. We respect the landlord’s right to appeal our Prohibition Notice, but as the judge found, the tribunal process was not pursued properly and this wasted time and public money.

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