Richmond landlord fined over £60,000 after ignoring Improvement Notices
Richmond Council has told residents that its Private Sector Housing Team will address issues with poor housing conditions and take enforcement action against rogue landlords and letting agents.
It recently prosecuted a private landlord after receiving a complaint on 4 March 2019 from a tenant living in one of the landlord’s flats in Twickenham. The landlord also had an outstanding housing Improvement Notice for another flat in the same building. Inspections took place just after the complaint was received and several items of disrepair were discovered.
In May 2019, the landlord was served two further Improvement Notices and was ordered to begin improvement works no later than the 3 July 2019 and to complete all the works within two weeks from that date.
Council officers undertook further inspections in August 2019 and found the bathroom ceiling had collapsed in one of the flats due to damp plaster, making the only bathroom unusable and creating a dangerous living situation for the tenant and her young son. Similarly, the inspection of the other flat revealed that no improvement works had been carried out.
The landlord was invited to a formal interview under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in August 2019 and was warned that if the council did not hear from him in the next seven days, legal proceedings would begin.
The landlord did not respond to any of the council’s requests and was subsequently prosecuted. The landlord has received a substantial fine of over £60,000.
Furthermore, the council has also applied for a Rent Repayment Order to claim back all Housing Benefit paid for the last 12 months and the hearing before the First-tier Tribunal is scheduled to take place in the New Year.
Cllr Jim Millard, Richmond’s Spokesperson for Housing, said:
“The Council’s Private Sector Housing Team works hard to hold landlords and letting agents to account. It’s a key part of improving the borough’s housing standards and we are pleased with the outcome of this investigation.
“We encourage residents who might be experiencing issues to contact us. Rogue landlords should take notice that the Council will not hesitate to act when it comes to sub-standard housing.“
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is available here.
For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.