Liverpool landlord harassment – Shocking and horrific!

by Larry Sweeney

10:06 AM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months 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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Mick Roberts

13:12 PM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 12/08/2019 - 12:52
I've took dozens to LGO over the years & got tens of thousands in compensation from the Councils, more so Nottingham Council.

But last few years, they don't seem to take on any case, unless its' REALLY REALLY BAD, & one LGO admitted to me a year or two ago, budget cuts.

Lindsay Keith

9:48 AM, 13th August 2019
About 4 months ago

What a truly ghastly position!
1. Write to the Top Man or Woman at Liverpool
2. Copy AND write to MP and invite Question in the House (cc to Housing Minister or whoever is the appropriate payroll MP)
3. Engage the Press
The above are free.
4. Not free is to consult an expert in procedural issues (be very careful here, a wrong choice WILL be disastrous) as to whether LGO/Judicial Review is either available or appropriate. Property 118 may guide your choice?
5. Be aware that badly run Police and Local Authorities bear grudges. I've put that in the Not Free section for obvious and sad reasons, such miscreants hate to be exposed. Those portrayed here seem poorly trained institutionalised lazy cowards, weak bullies but not corrupt in the criminal or financial sense?

Mark Alexander

10:00 AM, 13th August 2019
About 4 months ago

It irks me to read that a Local Authority would even contemplate a £30,000 fine for having an out of date Gas Safety Certificate.

Where is the natural justice in that? !!!

What odds do you think the bookmakers would give on more than 50% of Council employees who are homeowners having had a Gas Safety check on their own home in the last 12 months? [sic].

Only last year it was reported that a Housing Association had over 1,000 properties where Gas Safety Checks were out of date. They said it was "an oversight". Guess what there fine was? If the same rules had been applied their fine would have been in excess of £30 million!

Larry Sweeney

18:15 PM, 13th August 2019
About 4 months ago

There isa bigger picture here. This is an attack on civil liberties and a perfect example as to why these councils should be stripped of their powers. Local authorities are incapable of running such schemes.

Mark Alexander

18:21 PM, 13th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 13/08/2019 - 18:15
I couldn’t agree more!

Mark Alexander

18:25 PM, 13th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 13/08/2019 - 18:15
You should talk to the likes of Cyril Thomas in Colchester, who had to spend a fortune of getting a total of nine criminal landlord prosecutions overturned. This abuse of power is not just in LCC, it is becoming systemic!

I would much prefer the Alliance to raise awareness and campaign against this than pretty much anything else, because it could also quash licensing.

Larry Sweeney

21:41 PM, 13th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Thanks Mark. The Alliance is raising the issues of these schemes non stop. Only some weeks back we published a 'Dirty dozen' list of councils who either have flawed application processes or illegal conditions, furthermore we sent a delegation to Sefton who accepted our points and licensing is on hold until they get their systems fully compliant with Dpa/gdpr. The entire landlord licensing regime is a mess snd rather than spending fortunes on Judicial reviews, our view is that we use existing legislation to attack them. Such is the extent of their inepitude and incompetence that its easy to tear their schemes to shreds.

Mick Roberts

7:06 AM, 14th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 13/08/2019 - 18:15

That's the thing u say, incapable.

As with Nottingham Licensing, they've bought in loads of new people, no housing experience whatsoever, I repeat KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HOUSES, & they expected to tell us what to do. Whereas some of us 22+ years, we know how to house people & how to keep 'em happy in the house.

Many things, but one here. One Licensing application question they ask is How would u get the tenants repair done?

I had to write this down for each licensed house, 36 times:

I replied, Are u lot stupid?

What do you mean? Tenant rings me, I ring builder. How else would it be done? I've been doing this 20 years & if you don't know how fixing houses work, you shun't be asking that question.
Why don't u go ask her, she been with me 10 years & has somehow miraculously got new front & back composite doors, new windows, new kitchen, new boiler. I wonder how all this got done, eh?

The quickest way in my business to get job solved is for tenant to text their address, phone number & job description to me &/or plumber, he has all the details job done. If he lets them down, it’s easy & quicker to just forward this next text to the next unreliable plumber.

All my tenants have plumbers & electricians etc. numbers direct & 50% do contact 'em direct.

I got told, when they read my reply, approx 20 Licensing Officers looked at each other & said 'Well he's right in't he, how else would u get a repair done?'

As u say they incapable, all of a sudden, 20+ years old & thrust into being responsible for peoples homes telling a seasoned veteran how to do his job when he had no problems before.

Old Mrs Landlord

8:14 AM, 14th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 14/08/2019 - 07:06
If the newly-appointed officials had been more knowledgable they'd probably have accused you of contravening GDPR unless you can produce the written consent of all the tenants and tradesmen to have their details pased on to others! (Yes, I do realise tradesmen are only too happy to have their details circulated otherwise they wouldn't get any business, but I'm talking about strict interpretation of the legislation by clueless, petty officials.)

Alan Wong

10:26 AM, 19th August 2019
About 4 months ago

So sad when all we do are providing essential housing especially to a very challenging group of tenants with drugs, alcohol and gambling addictions that the council and housing association do not house. While we are dealing with the big challenges already, the Council not only do not offer support or incentives but abuse their positions.

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