Councils will be ‘the next Post Office scandal’ – claim

Councils will be ‘the next Post Office scandal’ – claim

16:54 PM, 12th February 2024, About 2 weeks ago 5

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A housing legal expert says that councils are guilty of severe maladministration, excessive enforcement and unfair licensing conditions against private sector landlords while neglecting their own housing stock and ignoring tenants’ complaints.

That’s the view of Des Taylor, a director of Landlord Licensing and Defence, a company that helps landlords comply with regulations and defend themselves against council actions.

He says that the antics of councils in the private rented sector will lead to the next Post Office scandal – the highly publicised campaign to highlight the wrongful convictions of hundreds of sub-postmasters over alleged accounting errors.

Mr Taylor said: “Councils are the next Post Office scandal – the makings are all there.

“Tenants are human beings who deserve decent living conditions, but they are let down by councils who make nonsense PR statements about learnings and not meeting their own high standards when they are found guilty by the Housing Ombudsman for severe maladministration.”

Failing to carry out repairs and deal with anti-social behaviour

Mr Taylor points to the recent case of Waltham Forest Council, which was ordered to pay £18,800 in compensation for failing to carry out repairs and deal with anti-social behaviour in three different properties, despite repeated requests from the tenants.

One of the properties had severe mould and damp issues, but the council did not fix them for 11 months.

He said: “It is disgraceful that they would ignore a tenant’s plea for help and not do the repair.

“In the private rented sector, a landlord would be hounded by enforcement operatives from the council, have Abatement Notices, Improvement Notices imposed upon them, and face serious trouble and legal action if they did not act promptly or dared to challenge the council’s demands, even if they were incorrect.”

Imposing licence conditions that are entrapment

Mr Taylor also accused councils of subcontracting tasks to firms that misadvise landlords and tenants, and of imposing licence conditions that are entrapment and unfair.

He said that one council’s advisor asked a landlord if he would consider letting a tenant sublet, which would create a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), even though the area was subject to planning and licensing restrictions, which would entrap the landlord if he had unwittingly agreed.

He added that Waltham Forest is a heavily regulated borough with Selective Licensing which imposes criminal liability on landlords for anti-social behaviour, which the council and the police had proven themselves incapable of controlling.

Mr Taylor explains: “The council are not held to any standard and a public inquiry into this must happen for this and all local housing associations.”

He said that there were 10,000s of landlords who had been punished far more for far less serious matters, and that this would continue until the public inquiry took place.

Mr Taylor said: “These articles show that the CEOs of these authorities are asleep at the wheel and incompetent, and at the same time the council staff in another department can punish private sector landlords who do the best they can, and spout lies and misinformation about landlords in the private rented sector, this is scandalous.

“How councils deal with private sector landlords is the next Post Office scandal, and they will be exposed and held accountable for their actions.”


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Comments

JeggNegg

11:00 AM, 12th February 2024, About 2 weeks ago

sadly i think you are correct.
so, is there a body that can be trusted, with the correct qualifications to carry out (on behalf of the rental sector and the British public, tax payers etc), full scale deep dive to A) identify all the issues, B) produce a report with achievable recommendations in a relatively short space of time. to stop any mis carriages of justice!

If not i fear the worst for both TENANTS and LANDLORDS (both Private and Councils, who should also have a level playing field)

Tim

13:52 PM, 12th February 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Mr Negg, thank the lord. Given the challenges I have encountered I am currently collating all the draft Licenses issued by London Boroughs primarily to highlight inconsistencies and bureaucratic nonsense which most property journalists are ignoring. The extension of HMO from 5 to 3 “unconnected” households have caused me huge issues from having to change RCDs (as the box material seemingly unacceptable), recently installed hard wired fire / smoke detectors and “policing” my tenants. At the same time seeking support from Camden on an ex LA apartment where they failed to address drug taking / dealing, alcoholism, vagrancy, sex acts, prostitution, violence to an incident of attempted murder within their property immediately outside resulting in my tenants fearing for not just their personal safety but their lives. Gove needs to ensure there is some consistency in these licenses we are being forced under threat of criminal proceedings, huge fines and rent reimbursement.

Tim

14:36 PM, 12th February 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Tim at 12/02/2024 - 13:52
And did I mention that one borough contacted my BTL mortgagor 4th December 2023 2 months prior to issuing the license. They in turn have threatened forfeiture as its not an HMO product. So no lease renewal August. How does that sit with No Fault proceedings if the tenant fights🤷‍♂️

MartinR

16:17 PM, 12th February 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Sounds about right, local councils are full of staff blaming anybody in PRS. Sadly my council can’t event fill pot holes in the road, looking after their own properties is much too difficult for them so they stick to attacking private landlords.

howdidigethere

22:56 PM, 12th February 2024, About 2 weeks ago

It is a lawless Cartel. I have had Eastbourne Council try to do me for a Fire inspection because they took their own view of the regs to which I had to correct them. They also tried to clawback rent for "over-payment" of one of their little lovely tenants who absconded until I pointed out that the council and I had no contract together. Greenwich council is trying to do me for council tax on a flat that one of their little lovelies told them she moved out, but had not, and greenwich appear to assume Power of Attorney for this little lovely but have no such instrument to evidence. They are ignoring the Housing Act and basic Rule of Law.

Greenwich is new to the licensing scam, and they pushed out a very heartwarming email that they, after 12 months, apologise for not being able to process our applications due to the overwhelming volume of applicants, but they are very pleased that so many landlords have been so responsible in taking up our "legal obligations".

Doesn't she mean legal extortions?

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