Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 30

This week’s round-up from Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance brings you the latest private rented sector news and highlights.

A rogue landlord task force tackled 346 reports of defective homes and issued £200,000 of fixed penalty notices to offenders last year.

Police warn that organised crime gangs are renting large country houses for dealing in drugs, human trafficking and to run scams from call centres. They ask landlords to be vigilant and to alert the police of suspicious behaviour.

A rogue landlord was fined £25,500 for renting a rundown HMO and a government document landlords must legally provide to their tenants at the start of a tenancy has been updated again. Finally, we share our new property podcast with special guest Kate Faulkner.


Rogue landlord task force tackles a home a day

A specialist task force targeting rogue landlords has issued penalty notices totalling £200,000, a city council has revealed.

The team investigated complaints about 346 rented homes across Manchester, closing 19 and ordering landlords to improve health and safety issues at another 44 properties.

The hazards they encountered included tenants living in excessive cold, properties with damp and mould or homes with poor fire and electrical safety.

Landlords have been prosecuted for failing to licence houses in multiple occupation (HMO) and for committing other shared house management offences.

The rogue landlord team was set up in January 2018 and tasked with tackling landlords exploiting vulnerable tenants, including immigrants without permission to live in the UK.

“We will always use every tool at our disposal to tackle the minority of landlords who do not take their responsibility seriously and seem happy to put their tenants at risk. Our message is clear – decent homes are a right that everyone should be able to enjoy. If you put your tenants at risk, we will do everything in our power to bring you to justice, help improve conditions for our residents, and in turn the wider community.”

– Councillor Suzanne Richards, the council’s executive member for housing and regeneration

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Crime gang police alert for landlords

Police are urging landlords to alert them about suspected drug and slavery gangs renting large homes in the countryside.

Fraudsters are also setting up call centres in some homes to scam elderly and vulnerable investors.

Detective Sergeant Jon Ryder, of Cheshire Police,  said: “Organised crime gangs are evolving the way they operate and are always looking for new ways of evading justice.

“By renting larger homes in mainly rural and concealed areas they are hoping that they can operate unnoticed. To combat this, we are asking landlords to be vigilant and keep any eye out for any suspicious activity in their communities.”

“In recent months we have received intelligence to suggest that gangs have been renting properties to house modern slavery victims and operate illegal call centres.”

– Detective Sergeant Jon Ryder, of Cheshire Police

Overcrowded and rundown HMO fined £25,000

Landlord Salah Ali was fined £25,500 for removing part of the roof from his rundown property, whilst it was occupied by 25 tenants, without taking safety precautions.

The offences emerged after firemen were called to the property because of a leak caused by part of the roof being removed. This was done while tenants were still living in the house.

Rogue landlord Ali was found guilty of operating an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO)  in Kilburn with multiple health and safety issues.

The HMO was overcrowded and in a poor state of repair, with neighbours regularly complaining about overflowing rubbish and a rat infestation.