Norwich City Council use Proceeds of Crime Act against Criminal Landlord

Norwich City Council use Proceeds of Crime Act against Criminal Landlord

9:00 AM, 22nd October 2012, About 11 years ago 4

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Norwich City Council is the first local authority in the country to use Proceeds Of Crime Act (POCA) 2002 against a Criminal landlord who failed to comply with HMO license conditions.

Mr Joseph Howman, of Grosvenor Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty to nine offences under the Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 and did not meet the standards required of a landlord in the Licence Conditions (part 2, Housing Act 2004).

The Criminal  landlord was ordered to pay £53,635 after being prosecuted successfully by Norwich City Council for putting his tenants at risk. In addition to being fined £5,000 plus £135 victim surcharge and £8,500 costs, Mr Howman was ordered to pay £40,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Ellen Spencer, private sector housing officer says: “Norwich City Council is committed to making sure private tenants live in safe houses which meet legal standards. In this case the landlord risked the safety of tenants by cutting corners and refusing to make improvements.

“We are pleased that the court recognised the serious nature of the offences and hope that this will send out a message that rogue landlords will not be tolerated in Norwich.”

The property in Unthank Road was let as 10 bedsits with shared bathrooms and posed a number of hazards to its tenants. The rooms had no heating, the main bathroom had no hot water, the communal bathrooms were dirty, the fire doors were in poor condition with many not working, and there were electrical hazards, including hanging wires and defective lighting.

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18:39 PM, 23rd October 2012, About 11 years ago

Mmmmm. I'm in two minds about this. I have no sympathy for a landlord who flouts health, safety, fire and hygiene regulations in an HMO, but he should be prosecuted under the relevant legislation.
I think it is stretching things to use the proceeds of crime act to bring a prosecution against him - its not like he has walked into Nat West with a stocking mask and a sawn-off shotgun is it?
Do you remember the way many Local Authorities used anti-terrorist surveillance legislation (RIPA) to spy on dog walkers who were letting their dogs foul the pavement - This smacks of a similar excessive misuse of power.
A hotel - local to me in Suffolk - was fined over £50.000 for serious breaches of fire regulations (and evasion of rectification of the problems) this was done under the existing fire regulatory powers - no need to bring in other legislation to get the result needed.
Interested to hear others opinions on this...

11:43 AM, 28th October 2012, About 11 years ago

I agree with Ian, the Councils are flouting their powers, a planning case brought in Harrow Council had a similar outcome and the proceeds were to be shared 50-50 between the Council and the Crown Prosecution begs the question as to what the motive is here?

Paul Fenton

8:44 AM, 29th October 2012, About 11 years ago

I don't know how dirty the bathrooms were , but it does sound amazing that you can get fined for a dirty bathroom , when the majority of tenants in my experience are too lazy to clean up after themselves !

10:45 AM, 16th November 2012, About 11 years ago

i live next door to this 'crack den' and i can assure you that this guy got everything he deserved. this building made our life i living hell. We complained to Mr Howman numerous times and he did nothing. We called the police on a weekly basis for 2 years and they did nothing. We had to put up with what can only be described as 'raves' probably 5 nights a week. picking up syringes from our garden wasnt fun either. We ventured into the property once and it was the most vile experience of my life. Mr Howson let his place to crack addicts and needs to suffer the consequences

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