Liverpool landlord harassment – Shocking and horrific!

by Larry Sweeney

10:06 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

Liverpool landlord harassment – Shocking and horrific!

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Liverpool landlord harassment – Shocking and horrific!

Some time back the Alliance was contacted by one of our members based in London. This landlord has a substantial portfolio in Liverpool.
Mr Mxxxx was very distressed and angry and informed us that Liverpool city council were engaged in a campaign of harassment against him and his tenants.

We tasked him to produce concrete evidence and advised him to ensure that he was fully compliant and not in breach of any regulations or legislation. Having reviewed a file of proofs, we were completely satisfied as to the merits of this Landlords argument. The authority had previously tried to prosecute Mr Mxxx for not having licences. However, following a Pace (Police and criminal evidence act 1984) interview, Liverpool dropped the case as it transpired that Mr Mxxx had indeed sent in applications which the council lost.

Liverpool city council have a documented history of losing or claiming that they did not receive documentation.

To digress briefly a file was sent by Mr Damien Moore MP for Southport to the previous Secretary of State for Housing. We have heard nothing back and therefore we will pursue this next week.

Back to the case of our unfortunate landlord victim. Mr Mxxx was invited to another Pace interview and asked us for assistance. I spoke with our North West regional Rep Mr John Whalley who himself is an expert authority on Pace procedures. It was decided that both Mr Whalley and myself would accompany this landlord to the Interview with Liverpool.

What followed was shocking beyond belief. We will not name any Liverpool officers as it would appear that very serious criminal offences may have allegedly been committed ie Misconduct/Misfeasance in public office. This offence can carry a tariff of life imprisonment. Now to the actual interview.

Mr Mxxx was called to answer the following allegations:

  1. Failure to provide a gas safe cert.
  2. Failure to provide smoke detectors.
  3. Failure to carry out regular inspections.
  4. Failure to maintain a tidy garden.

1. Mr Mxxx not only produced a current in date gas safety certificate, but also produced proof of posting that he had sent it to the council.

2. Furthermore he had a statement from his maintenance contractor that smoke detectors were indeed installed and furthermore it was also noted on the gas safe cert that the smoke detectors had been tested by the gas engineer.

3. With respect to the spurious allegation that the LL had failed to carry out regular inspections, Mr Mxxxx had attempted to clear this up prior to interview by contacting the council officer and asking how he had come to this conclusion and to explain the exact nature of the allegation. The officer refused to elaborate or clarify. The landlord then produced statements from contractors stating that time and again entry was refused by the tenant himself. It transpires the tenant is a vulnerable chap who has serious alcohol issues. Our landlord went the extra mile and contacted social services in Liverpool expressing concern for the tenants welfare (telephone records proved this). Liverpool social services declined to get involved saying the tenant himself should make contact, despite his condition. The tenant then approached Mr Mxxx and gave a letter stating that he wanted to be left alone and Liverpool city council instead of helping him were causing great distress. Our landlord could quite easily have washed his hands of this tenant, but could not bring himself to issue proceedings against this vulnerable gentleman .

4. Liverpool then allege that the landlord fails to maintain the garden despite the tenancy agreement clearly stating that this was the tenants responsibility. The council were now attempting to subvert the provisions of the Housing act 2004 which clearly states that no licence should subvert or attempt to change the terms of a tenancy.

This is all shocking beyond belief, but what comes next is horrific in the extreme.

One of the officers interviewing Mr Mxxx was in fact the same officer who had inspected another of Mr Mxxx properties. This officer sent a compliance notice threatening a £30,000 fine for failure to install a smoke detector. Our landlord had contacted us and we wrote to this officer asking if he was or had been made aware that a detector was in situ at the inception of the tenancy. The officer replied that he was not aware of that. The landlord has now provided us with a statement from his tenant stating that she clearly told the council that a smoke detector had been installed and her husband broke it moving furniture upstairs.

We have also now been provided with a statement from an independent party who was in the property when it was inspected. Once again this witness states that Liverpool were informed that a smoke detector had been installed. Yet another statement was provided by a contractor who had installed the detector. Finally we have also another piece of evidence which is irrefutable and will in due course be handed to the investigatory authorities.

What has happened to us? What has happened to this great Country.

We have tin pot local authorities behaving like dictators. What happened last Friday in the offices of Liverpool city council at 2pm and the events leading up to this, must be the subject of an investigation at the very highest level. How many senior officers in LCC are aware of this. Has the officer who inspected the property been suspended? Has an explanation been obtained as to why it would appear he tried to allegedly extort a civil penalty on purely fraudulent grounds.

How on earth can this corrupt authority be allowed to run any licensing scheme?

This is shocking beyond belief, beyond comprehension. Our landlord is absolutely distraught and yet we predict that Liverpool city council will do nothing, in the hope this goes away. They will not investigate, rather cover up. At the time of writing we have become aware of further issues with respect to another landlord. This should act as a wake up call for everyone.

These councils are dangerously out of control.

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Comments

Martin Weaver

10:52 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

we are becoming the
Ununited kingdom of independent local authorities'

Mark Alexander

11:02 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

Has a complaint been submitted to https://www.lgo.org.uk/ yet?

Freda Blogs

11:06 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

I would write to the Mayor/ Councillors/CEO. Escalating always makes officers have to jump through hoops to respond.

Larry Sweeney

11:28 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

The Lgo is pretty useless Mark. This is a decision for the landlord himself but as I understand it his options include suing LCC as well as making a formal complaint to Merseyside Police.

Mark Alexander

11:33 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 12/08/2019 - 11:28
Hi Larry

On what basis could he sue LCC? What are the losses he has sustained, save for his expenses relating to his defense, which I suspect won't add up to too much?

Having read up on "misfeance in public office", I am not sure how this applies in this case. Please explain.

John Bullock

11:46 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

Truly shocking Larry. Thank god the landlord from London had the Alliance familiar with PACE to witness this folly.

As you know equally shockingly I have a legal case with LCC sub Judicy so I can't say anything as yet but I implore all landlords to use the same legislation they hit us with us to challenge them in court. It has to be played on the same field we are judged but they are making vast mistakes but landlords need to tackle them on. Join the Alliance.

Mick Roberts

11:54 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

I've got exactly this scenario now.
My tenants have even wrote to Nottingham council, saying they don't want me coming in & especially NOT the Council Licensing http://www.selectivelicensingtruth.co.uk coming in.

And yes you've guessed it, we have 14 days to send Licensing stuff in & reply, but TWO+ months later, the council still hasn't replied to us.

Some text below from some of my tenants to the Council who not even had the courtesy of replying to them. I did have at the beginning of Licensing, the second in command, he said 'What, u get on with your tenants?' as he was laughing. They could not believe & are more shocked now, that some Landlords actually get on with their tenants. I've been to tenants weddings, funerals, all sorts. Licensing only heard at the beginning, the bad stories, the good ones don't come forward, as they don't need to, everything is going Hunky Dory Just fine for them thank u. They have no reason to shout.

Re: Appeal against 6 monthly property inspections

I am writing this letter to appeal against the proposed 6 monthly property inspections being enforced by Nottingham Selective Licensing.

I currently privately rent a flat which I have resided in for the last 15 years. I suffer from anxiety, depression and panic attacks for which I am on medication. The thought of being inspected by my landlord or a letting agency every 6 months is causing me a huge amount of stress and adding to the debilitating mental health conditions I have mentioned. My landlord Mick Roberts has always been extremely understanding of my conditions and left me to have peaceful enjoyment of my property. If and when I have had any issues regarding maintenance at the property he always responds and resolves them promptly, there is therefore no need for these regular inspections which have not been necessary for the past 15 years so why now? Checks that are required on a regular basis e.g., the boiler are always done on time.

The flat I rent is on a block of council flats and I know from speaking to these council residents that they do not have to have regular inspections so why are private landlords and tenants being made to? From my experience the council properties are not well maintained, I have had leaks from the upstairs flat and water damage on 3 occasions, this suggests to me that checks, repairs and maintenance are not being carried out on the council properties yet are being enforced on private landlords/tenants.

My landlord has informed tenants that he does not have time to complete these 6 monthly inspections which means that he will have to instruct a letting agency to do so resulting in increased rental costs. Tenants like me are living on the breadline as it is, if rent is increased I will have no way to find this extra money and will effectively be homeless. I am sure this is the case for many of my landlord’s tenants.

My landlord attends to anything that is required in my flat as regards to maintenance. He is not intrusive and respects tenants’ privacy. These 6 monthly checks are therefore not necessary.

Yours Faithfully

To who this may concern,

I am one of the tenants who are privately renting a house/home off Mick Roberts . Who had the bright idea to inspect tenants houses and to invade there privacy when the council wouldn’t even do it to there own properties and tenants ?. We have been renting a property of Mick Roberts for the past 5 years we gave up shoddy council houses where you couldn’t even get repairs done to have a landlord who does his best to keep our houses maintained and all repairs up to date and our houses safe . We have had no problems with asking for repairs or having them done we as tenants are put first so are repairs . If any repairs are needed they are responded to in 24 hours or even faster and he inspects what needs doing sends someone out even phones after to make sure its up to our standards and he comes and double checks it all too that’s more than what the council do . Why attack all landlords not just the ones who are not doing there job? Why not start by looking at your own properties and dealing with the state you let people live in without doing repairs !! It would cost the council millions to get there properties up to the standard mick keeps his in and that says a lot our gardens are well looked after too .

I am a carer for my husband who as mental health issues and doesn’t react well to strangers/people he doesn’t know . Having inspections would cause unnecessary stress to him and more anxiety .He suffers with anxiety and agoraphobia he lives in our bedroom which is HIS safe haven and he feels safest, why should he have someone he doesn’t know or a landlord to invade his privacy or look at where he feels safest ?? Why would you want to cause more anxiety ? . Every 6 months this is ridiculous.

We have a 14 nearly 15 year old daughter who has her own private space in her own bedroom why should she have people look around it that’s her PRIVATE space and having it inspected would invade HER privacy . Her dad doesn’t even go in her bedroom so why should a stranger that she doesn’t even know be able to have a look around when she could not even be there .

Both myself and my husband have had bad experiences with the council that is why we approached mick Roberts at the time to get away from poor treatment by the council and opted to private rent together . Banning our landlord for standing up to his and our rights is disgusting and we are thinking of writing to our local MP and find out how this can even happen . It is an invasion of our privacy and breaching our human rights its forcing us to be monitored in such a way and is unfair. Why should we suffer and have to pay more rent which we may not be able to afford for this you are just helping to make us homeless with a baby on the way how does this make any sense to you ? . Hoping for a prompt response to our worries and concerns about this matter and most of all why you are trying to make us homeless .

I've been renting property from mick Robert's for a few years. Anything I've needed done to house repairs, leaks, electrics etc Mick has sorted that same day. I have PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks and depression having my house inspected every 6 months would cause major panic attacks. I also have intense therapy and counselling to overcome my PTSD if I miss this appointments to have a perfectly good house inspected I'm never going to recover. My son is autistic and I'm not prepared for the meltdown and violent outburst this will cause having his room checked, if a single thing is out of place in his room to even his door being more open or not shut the way he left it it would disturb his whole routine for the day. You make think that sounds stupid but that's what life is like with an autistic child. Before you say do it when he's there that wont help him any either. Mick has so many tenants and houses how is he or even other landlord meant to adhere to these inspections. Council don't have them done every 6 months my mums been in her house 6 year and she's not had 1 yet. If mick has to leave his properties with letting agents our rents are going to go up. I get there are some dodgy landlords out there who don't do the required work and have poor living conditions Mike's not one of them. All these new rules and possible rent increase is going to make alot of people homeless. Which will cost you a lot more to rehome. I'm going to speak to my crisis counsellor and see if I can be forced to have these inspections which will be stressful for me and my son!!

I'm writing this to inform you I don't wish for any inspections to be carried out in my property, I'm rather happy with the way things are and not having regular checks I feel as if my property is being invaded for no apparent reason, I suffer with anxiety so the last thing I need is people walking around the place I call a home.

I'm writing this letter to state I would not like regular inspections as my house is a place I call home for me and my children and I would rather people are not walking round my house in and out of our bedrooms, I also have dogs that do not take well to strangers and they could get out and then I'd be charged for dog wardens to get them back so my answer to having regular inspections is no I dont want them.

I don't want the licensing inspection every 6 months for 1 our privacy 2 you don't have to do it with council houses
3 I've not needed them in the last 11 years
4 I have 4 children so sometimes their bedrooms can get messy

i dont want my landlord coming round and do a house inspection there no need for it mick dont bother me and when i ring him up for a repair he does them straight away and i dont bother him so i dont want a house inspection

We in Nottingham are also looking at the treatment of Landlords regarding no consideration to Landlords Mental Health & asking us to do multiple tasks in an impossible time-frame.

Yes LGO are useless at the moment, will only take a case on if the Council has chopped your head off.

Larry Sweeney

11:57 AM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

Hi Mark,
As regards his civil case against LCC, he is currently talking to solicitors so perhaps best if we let his legal time guide him with respect to the grounds. Perhaps Harassement.
As regards Misconduct in public office. This is an extremely serious offence. If a public official issues a penalty/compliance letter or threatens proceedings in the full knowledge that the allegation is false, that would amount to misconduct in public office. We are in posession of evidence proving LCC were aware that smoke detectors were installed but still issued a compliance letter and stated in correspondence thst they were not aware of this. The proofs we have are irrefutable.

Jon

12:31 PM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

A shocking and worrying account - I would definitely take this to the LGO. I have taken a different Council to the LGO 3 times in the past and the last time, I was actually paid compensation - so it is worth the time and trouble. I have to say that I found th LGO very professional as long as you have all your evidence together and in a clear format for them to assess the case.
Best wishes and good luck
Jon

Mark Alexander

12:52 PM, 12th August 2019
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Jon at 12/08/2019 - 12:31
Whilst I have never had cause to complain to the LGO I know of a few that have and they would echo your words in regards to professionalism in dealing with well presented cases.

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