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Local authorities step up fight against rogue landlords

Rogue landlords are seeing renewed crackdowns as inspectors uncover serious violations of health and safety regulations. Additionally, there are numerous examples of persistent, low-level offences.
 
Several recent cases have seen landlords hit with large fines for poorly maintaining their properties, to the detriment of their tenants. In one property in Reading, a series of issues led to prosecution, a £2,700 fine and a further £3,000 demanded in costs. Neglect and damage included problems with the kitchen ceiling, broken doors, faulty electrical sockets, drains that were not properly maintained and leaking pipes, a roof that was missing slates and fire escapes that were blocked. All of these were unpleasant for tenants to deal with, and some could have proved fatal.
 
The rental sector in Reading is large and growing fast, and the council has taken the step of warning landlords that they will not tolerate the minority that do not meet their obligations to tenants and the law.
 
Similarly, a recent survey of rental properties in Bath showed that many were below the standards expected. In one instance, a man was found to be living in a space that was just four square metres – barely enough to lie down in. Overcrowding was often a problem, with a small sauna room in one property housing a family of five, in one of the most extreme examples. Cold and damp were also repeatedly noted; one property was so damp that large fungi were seen growing on the walls.

Low-level neglect and poor fire precautions were also commonly seen across the survey of rental properties. As a result of the extensive problems, Bath and North East Somerset Council have said they will conduct a review of HMOs to evaluate the wider standard and quality of rental properties.
 
Local authorities are generally happy to work with landlords to make sure that properties are up to standard. However, there are stringent rules in place and Doncaster Council advises that the fine for unregistered HMOs is up to £20,000.

Being a landlord brings certain legal obligations and responsbilities. If you are unsure of yours, talk to us. We can give you the expert advice you need. Call 01302 320621 or email landlords@athertongodfrey.co.uk

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