9:00 AM, 1st March 2021, About A year ago 13
A London council is running what it describes as “an innovative project” to help private tenants reclaim rent from landlords who fall foul of licensing rules.
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets council claims that over £200,000 has been reclaimed for tenants under the Rent Repayment Order project, which holds landlords to account if they fail to obtain the correct property licence before taking on tenants. Many other councils have achieved far higher pain inflicted on landlords.
All councils in England now consider it their “legal duty” to ensure that every landlord possible is screwed for as much “punishment” as possible. It is in the DNA of the hideous new breed of arrogant, bullying and totally unaccountable Housing Enforcement officers that are displacing the old breed of housing officers who actually cared about improving housing conditions and educating landlords. The new breed is only interested in catching-out landlords who haven’t paid their ‘licensing tax” and the amount of Civil Penalty Fine revenue they can generate towards their revenue targets.
It would be fine if the law was being used as intended against ‘rogue landlords’ but these piranha enforcement officers are targeting everyday landlords by misusing the legislation and cutting out the requirements to use HHSRS (the housing health and safety rating system) under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 which gives landlords the opportunity to bring the property up to date with the ever more difficult requirements imposed by these councils.
Instead, the piranha enforcement regime has found it can get away without having to prove that a serious failure exists and can simply put Civil Penalty fines for £50,000 or so in the post to unsuspecting landlords. London Borough of Camden, Northampton City Council, Coventry City Council, Manchester City Council, London Borough of Redbridge and Salford City Council are just a few of these out of control and corrupt-like councils that we have to remonstrate with every week as they crush decent landlords into mental wrecks whilst the councils systematically destroy their mental and physical health, their business and their pensions. Often leaving tenants in mortal danger until they can hit the landlord with mega fines.
Don’t be fooled, this is NOT about improving housing quality. It is all in the pursuit of Civil Penalty Fine revenue.
Not content with ruining decent landlords’ lives for their own financial gain these low-life bullies then reel in setting tenants against the landlords they love and trust with the temptation of “Get a whole year’s rent back.” The amount of effort these bully-boy piranhas put into poisoning tenants against landlords is unbelievable.
Unlike Civil Penalty fines where the enforcement bullies’ motivation is greed for their revenue targets, their motivation for Rent Repayment Orders is pure malice.
‘You will get a whole years’ rent back is also mostly a lie, because when properly defended the award by the First-Tier Tribunal usually varies between 0% and 50% of the claim depending on how bad the landlord has been. Funny that neither the council officers nor the other breed of parasites the no-win, no-fee solicitors who help themselves to up to 50%, sometimes more, of any ‘win’.
In their distorted view of the world, ALL Landlords are Criminals and Rogue. They must be punished and stripped of their assets. Attempted fines of £115,000 on a 6 bedroom HMO are not uncommon (albeit Landlord Licensing & Defence regularly fight these down by half).
A Rent Repayment Order can be made where the property should have been licensed and wasn’t. It also covers other offences like using or threatening violence to secure entry into premises; illegal eviction or harassment or failing to comply with an improvement notice or prohibition order.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, supporting the piranhas in his council says: ‘’As a council, we want to do everything we can to make sure tenants are not exploited by unscrupulous landlords. I’m pleased we brought in this scheme and that’s its already made a real difference to residents in the private rented sector.”
Councillor Eve McQuillan, a cabinet member for planning on the council, whose department has its own team of revenue motivated enforcement bullies adds: “All tenants deserve safe and secure homes. Where landlords fail in their responsibilities to tenants, we will use our powers, including RROs, to stand up for residents and make sure they are safe from exploitation and unsafe flats.”
It makes one wonder what absolute drivel these councillors are fed by these apparently unaccountable people in their unaccountable organisations.
When one reads that the only compensation the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has paid to the tenants of its many properties with the worst Category 1 Hazards is not the £10,000s it has set up this ‘exciting new’ operation to claim for tenants of Private Landlords is a grand total of £70. Yes, you read that right: Grand total £70, and we know this because the Housing Ombudsman recently published this figure.
So, here we have the council which gets away with near-zero accountability and compensation to tenants whilst they spend taxpayers’ money to ensure that tenants will pursue their landlords for multiple £10,000 in punitive Rent Repayment Orders. Readers may think this sounds like corruption.
Any landlord finding themselves on the wrong end of a Rent Repayment Order should immediately seek the advice and help of those committed to fighting these bullies and their corporate injustice. Call Landlord Licensing & Defence on 0208 088 0788 or go to http://landlordsdefence.co.uk/contact.
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