HMO landlord fined £5,500 for letting filthy home

HMO landlord fined £5,500 for letting filthy home

16:16 PM, 31st May 2012, About 12 years ago 5

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The landlord of a filthy and overcrowded shared house was fined £5,500 after admitting 23 licensing and management offences to magistrates.

Jan Assakzai 42, of Friars Road, East Ham, London, picked up the fine at Thames Magistrates Court and was also ordered to pay £300 legal costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

An inspection by Newham Council uncovered a cooker covered with grease, rotting rubbish in the garden and a grime-encrusted toilet at the house in multiple occupation (HMO) on Romford Road, Manor Park, East London.

The shared house was only licensed for five people but at the time of the inspection, nine tenants were living there and they claimed two or three more extra tenants had lived there in the past.

Councillor Ian Corbett, executive member for infrastructure and environment for Newham Council, said: “We want to ensure that private sector rented properties are well managed and meet a good standard.

“We also want to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with bad private sector rented housing.

“One bad house can drag down a whole street and we are doing this for the community.

“There are good landlords in Newham and we want to work with them. Unfortunately there are also some unscrupulous ones – and these are the ones we are targeting.

“We will never accept private sector tenants being directly exploited by landlords who force them to live in dangerous and unacceptable conditions.

“Good landlords have nothing to fear. For the bad ones, we have a clear message: clean up your act or pay the price.”

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21:20 PM, 31st May 2012, About 12 years ago

How do landlords FORCE people to live in their properties? Dont they know people have a choice? This sounds like Newham council doing their usual landlord bashing.  Newham are going to compulsorily licence landlords at a fee of course!
Here's a suggestion - Charge the fee then inspect. Any landlord who passes gets money back and any who fail pays a lot to cover the costs of the scheme. Everyone would need to know the criteria in advance to be fair.
Problem is Newham can't even keep their own properties well inspected so how are they going to expand their inspection empire?

Michael Holmes

0:16 AM, 1st June 2012, About 12 years ago

I thought it was the tenants responsibilty to keep the property clean, not the LLD's. Greasy cooker, rotting rubbish, grimy toilets!! How is that the LLD's responsibilty? He doesn't live there himself does he?  If the tenants are prepared to live in this filth, then that is their lookout I would argue. That is typical of what is wrong with this country, nobody is prepared to lift a finger to help themselves,they all have to rush off to the council or Health Department and put the blame for their own slackness on him/her.  

12:45 PM, 1st June 2012, About 12 years ago

In my experience there is nothing in place to make tenants accountable for their behaviour - please correct me if I am wrong.  On this occasion I would love to be wrong.  I found out last year, inadvertently, that my tenant's rubbish is my problem.  The tenants did not always put their wheeley bin out and so disposed of rubbish in the back garden.  When they refused to remove it I reported them to Environmental Health and discovered to my sheer horror that if they (Environmental Health) took action it would be against me and not the tenants.  Apparently when a notice is served it is served on the property and not on a person and the onus, therefore, falls to the owner of the property and not to the culprits who created the mess!  I would love to hear suggestions from anyone on how to manage tenants who don't mind living in squalor and mind very much doing something about it.  It all smacks a bit of the criminal justice systems if you ask me.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

13:14 PM, 1st June 2012, About 12 years ago

There are 2 things here that need separating. The notion that tenants can run properties into grimy nastiness and that landlords can let out dirty and dangerous properties. The word dirty in the article doesn’t state who was responsible for the dirt.
Tony your point about nobody forcing tenants to move in misses an issue that is very common, particularly in Newham, London’s poorest borough with the highest rate of unemployment.
HMO properties aren’t top of anyone’s choice for renting but people under 35 on £73 a week Job Seeker’s allowance don’t really have the choice, unless you take into account street sleeping, which is no choice at all. You take what you can get.
I often go out with our EHOs to HMOs where there are legal issues to be addressed and the conditions can be astonishing, I can assure you, and not always the result of the way the tenants use them.
A while back I went to a convenience store only to find a shipping container in the back garden full of illegal Chinese immigrants who had to crap in the garden because they had no facilities.
At the property next door the 2nd floor bath had no waste pipe, you just pull the plug, the water hits the floor and runs out the wall where the landlord had helpfully knocked out a brick at floor level.
Or the property I visited with 3 tenants in it and no toilet bowl at all. The landlord had refused to replace it and wasn’t answering his phone.
For every story you have of dirty tenants I can swap one with you of awful landlords.
But the real point is why should either landlords or tenants be like this?
I am fully behind Newham’s idea to target bad landlords but I’m not in favour of them doing this unilaterally and not working with their good ones. I think it is counter-productive. All Newham seem to be doing in my own opinion is alienating every landlord in the country let alone Newham
My job is to prosecute landlords for harassment and illegal eviction but I am currently helping the landlord of a local HMO to evict their tenants who have taken to urinating on the stairs and even crapping in the shower.
Like a broken record I will say again, local authorities should be working with the PRS right across the board, facilitating solutions, providing advice and assistance and prosecuting only when landlords don’t engage, but you have to be doing all at the same time, to me that’s the flaw in the Newham plan.

Michael Holmes

10:13 AM, 4th June 2012, About 12 years ago

Hello Ben,

I quite understand your points concernng the responsibiliteis of both tenants and Landlords. I have two HMOs let out to students. Generally they are fairly well behaved,but there are always exceptions and boys especially have not got a clue when it comes to cleaning and hygeine,so I am forever going in and clearing up accumulations of dirty dishes and hoovering and keeping the fire exits and passages clear of debris. The problem I have is with the Law as it stands, it is far too tenant orientated. There are plenty of council employees ready to jump to conclusions and dump all over landlords before getting all the facts straight. Many of these employees are just not up to their jobs anyway, often because they are overloaded with work, so the easy way out is to skewer the landlord.!

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