Landlords want public inquiry into Bristol Property Guardians scandal

Landlords want public inquiry into Bristol Property Guardians scandal

13:39 PM, 11th January 2017, About 8 years ago

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People living as property guardians in scandal-hit former council nursing homes in Bristol are mounting a legal action that could set a precedent that would improve the rights of people in similar housing right across the country. An increasing amount of landlords in the south west are also demanding a public inquiry into the situation, as they try to gain support for a maladministration case into the way areas of the city have been selectively licensed.landlord referencing

The guardians are challenging a legal order to get out of one of the old elderly people’s homes, in a case which could see a change in the laws which govern the ‘property guardian’ arrangements.

The Bristol Post recently reported how a number of the city council’s former nursing homes were closed down and earmarked for redevelopment. But council housing chiefs handed over the keys of them in the meantime to a Dutch-based international property management company called Camelot, who then recruited people to live in the homes as property guardians, to ward off vandals and squatters.

The Post revealed how Camelot were technically breaking the law because it did not apply for the necessary licence to operate the nursing homes as Homes in Multiple Occupation, and allowed people to live in the homes without the proper regulations on fire safety and other conditions being adhered to.

Without the safeguard of an HMO licence, the people living in properties handed over by the council to Camelot say they have seen little or no maintenance, and have lived for more than three years with no functioning hot water. Furthermore, after complaining of receiving electric shocks in the showers the guardians said Camelot simply removed the showers, leaving bare wires exposed.

There were claims Bristol City Council was complicit in this, by telling Camelot they didn’t need to worry about those regulations.

Now, the property guardians themselves are fighting back, and a number of the people who are still living at one of the homes, Broomhill Elderly People’s Home in Brislington, are challenging a legal notice to leave.

They said they are taking on Camelot on behalf of property guardians across the country, because they are not afforded the same legal rights as more formal ‘tenants’ who sign tenancy agreements to live in a property.

The legal case will challenge the issuing of the notice, and claim the property guardians are, by default, legally tenants of the Broomhill home, because they live in individual, lockable rooms, have done for several years in some cases, and share communal facilities.

City council housing chief Paul Smith has pledged to ‘investigate fully’ the scandal of the ‘property guardians’ in council-owned properties across the city.

Following the success of the Somerset Property Network last Summer, a group of landlords in Bristol met to discuss their collective belief that the process of the initial landlord licensing consultation in Bristol (Eastville and St George areas) was careless and unnecessary.

So in the wake of this damning news about BCC, landlords would like to see a public inquiry conducted by an external authority on this latest development.

Comments via the Bristol Landlords Against Selective Licencing Facebook Group pointed out:

Robin Crawford,

‘An absolutely appalling situation and for Paul Smith BCC Cllr for Housing to blame the former administration is totally unacceptable. Under the proposed landlord and agent banning laws BCC would have to ban themselves!’

Samantha Jackson,

‘Problem is Rob they will get away with it if people don’t keep pushing and questioning. When oh when are Bristol landlords going to pull together?’

Robin Crawford,

‘A public inquiry conducted by an external authority should be demand. Also, I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. How many other tenants in Council accommodation are suffering in a similar way?’

Samantha Jackson,

‘OK so we need to push for that. I cannot stand hypocrites and thieves and BCC are nothing more than both ! Taking decent landlords money to run their housing department whom in turn rent out sub-standard non-compliant housing to vulnerable people.’

Robin Crawford,

‘I am surprised that ACORN Bristol have not featured this, surely they should be fronting this on behalf of tenants to the Local Government Ombudsman! ‘

Samantha Jackson,

‘Well we know how dependent they are on their marketing manager Paul Smith, So even if they do I expect it will be played down and instead they will feature intimidation of landlords who are legally serving notice on tenants!’

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