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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Repayment order means £11,000 in rent being returned to tenants

Rent to the value of £10,982.25 is to be returned to tenants by a landlord who was operating without a licence.

Mrs P Nagra, the landlord of a property in Coventry, has been instructed by the First Tier Property Tribunal to repay rent, that seven tenants applied for as part of a Rent Repayment Order.

Applications for rent repayment orders can be submitted by tenants to the First Tier Property Tribunal - the independent tribunal is responsible for resolving disputes relating to private rented and leasehold property - to claim back any rent paid during the period a landlord manages an unlicensed property.

Coventry council carried out investigations and found that the landlord had failed to licence the property for a period of eight months and failed in her management of the property.

A spokesman for the local authority says: "This is a first Rent Repayment Order for an unlicensed landlord. We are working with landlords to raise property standards. The expectation is that both the landlord and the tenants play their part in following all correct steps.

“It is not fair for landlords to evade compliance and benefit financially from operating illegally, while the vast majority of landlords are complying. This first Rent Repayment Order should serve as a stark warning to the minority of landlords who continue to be unlicensed.

The legislation gives tenants a right to reclaim rent where landlords have significantly failed to comply with housing law.

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    LL like Mrs Nagra are the reason that Shelter etc adopt attitudes such as ‘all LL inhabit The Dark Side and should be stamped on’. Penalties for LL who behave in this way are rightly severe. I hope this case gets plenty of publicity so that those in the business of renting out property give consideration to the likely consequences of ignoring the law.

    Barry X

    Hazel - in what "way" has she "behaved" to make you think she "inhabits The Dark Side and should be stamped on"?

    She may well be a terrible landlord but there again she may be an exemplary one, the article doesn't give us any indication. All she has apparently done wrong is not spend a lot of money to obtain a Coventry council licence for eight months. The other thing we know is she has seven tenants.

    These licences are totally pointless and just a scam - its all about taking money from landlords and has nothing to do with "raining standards" or any of the other false claims frequently made by lying councils to justify their greedy schemes to exploit sitting-duck landlords. They can "raise standards" anyway, if they like, they don't need a "licencing scheme" to do it.

    If you look into it - which I've just done - Coventry council WAS going to introduce a "selective" scheme applying only to poorer quality areas of their borough. Then when they realised how much money it was going to bring in for nothing they abandoned that plan and decided to make it borough-wide so they could extract every penny they could from as many landlords as there are in their little empire.

    These are licences for HMO's..... when I started out as a landlord over two decades ago, an HMO was typically a very large property with at least 7 self contained bedsits but all sharing some facility such as a communal living room, bathroom, entrance or whatever or any combination.

    I've taken the trouble to download and read through Coventry Council's boring "Signed Designation" document. For your information, their definition of an HMO is ALMOST the meanest, harshest, most unrealistic one available - and they're not alone, so many other badly run so now greed cash-strapped councils are now adopting it too. Under this piece of legally enforceable nonsense an HMO is now any rental properties "...that are occupied by 3 or more persons comprising two or more households..."!

    I said "ALMOST" because I expect in a few years time an HMO will be any TWO (not three) people sharing a flat who aren't married to each other - as if that would "raise standards" and anyone who defied it, or didn't believe it was real, or just happened to be abroad for a few months and never got the post about it should - according to Hazel anyhow - be "stamped on" for "behaving that way" (unless I'm being unfair to Hazel and she knows more about Mrs P.N. than the article tells us).

    Think about it for a few moments..... more or less forever its been quite common for, say, a couple to rent a two bed (or even one bed) flat and let an old friend of theirs - perhaps from their university days - share the flat with them and use the other bedroom (or perhaps living room, depending on the layout and size of the flat). Suddenly that's now against the law in Coventry and an increasing number of other parts of the country unless every five years (or in some cases three years or even just every other year) pay the council a few hundred pounds for nothing but the privilege of renting to traditional sharers instead of a single family or a couple with no friend(s) sharing.

    The effect of this type of scheme is very corrosive and damaging to the PRS, costing many hundreds (or a couple of thousand or so) to "small" landlords with one or two properties, and for portfolio landlords many thousands of pounds extra. And this is on top of all the other costs that we are being steadily and grossly unfairly burdened with.

    As soon as a scheme like this is imposed in a particular area, the typical response of local LLs (and understandably too) is to refuse to renew longstanding tenancies to good tenants who were, and still are, happy to live there and were expecting another renewal as normal, and if necessary even evict them, just to avoid being scammed by the council for renting perfectly normally and respectably to sharers.

    Presumably we've also seen adverts saying things like "would suit a small family or professional sharers"? As these schemes become more prevalent the adverts will become more likely to say something like "would suit a couple enjoying extra space and able to pay for it or else a small family" - SHARERS WOULD BE NOW BE **OUT**!!!!

    So you can see how greedy scams (sorry, schemes) like these don't "raise standards", they actually make people temporarily homeless, split them up and force them to pay a lot more each (as sharing is a much cheaper options which is the main reason people have always done it - until now), and of course it further reduces the available housing stoke because instead of sharing a flat the couple and their friend now need two flats between them.

    finally, it drives landlords out of business, or at least radically changes their behaviour.... in our case we used to own several quite large ex-council flats in Pimlico (Churchill Gardens and Lillington Gardens to be exact).

    I don't know anything about Mrs P Nagra in Coventry, she may be a good landlord or a terrible one... what I do know is WE ARE exemplary landlords and were in Pimlico. We used to rent out each of our flats there to about 5 or sometimes 6 (our max per property) young professionals, policemen, nurses and/or PhD students.... we were super kind and helpful to them giving them separate ASTs each and not making them responsible for cover the rent or bills for occasional empty rooms or finding substitutes to refill them (we took on all those responsibilities ourselves). We personally met and spent quite a lot of our time carefully interviewing all prospective tenants to make sure they'd fit in and not upset the people already there. (We learned that if you allow one "bad" tenant into such an arrangement then at least one "good" tenant soon moves out so its not worth it - best to be loyal and considerate to the "good" ones already there, as all of them were).

    In our Pimlico flat-share tenants (in flat-shares WE set up and managed) the individual tenants all thought their rents were a bargain and the set-up just perfect for them as far as they were concerned. Some stayed as long as 6 years! Most stayed about 3 - 4 years and encouraged their friends to apply to us in case we had any vacancies anywhere.

    It was a lot of hard work for us but also very profitable and worth our while.

    What went wrong, you might ask? Well, Westminster council (and most councils at the time) began reducing the number of sharers you could rent to without having to pay for an - you guessed it - HMO licence, and this was well over ten years ago now - it started sometime (two or three years, I think) before the "credit crunch" hit in 2007/2008.

    First it was up to a maximum of 6 - that was ok for us but becoming a worry if any tenants decided to let a boyfriend or girlfriend quietly move into a room. This quite often happened and we didn't mind as long as the rest of the people there were ok with it. For example it meant one more person to share the loo, kitchen, fridge whatever. We sometimes had to have group meetings at one of several pubs around there (at our expense of course) to discuss and sort such things out. Under Westminster's new rules it was a no-no and could not be allowed anymore - so it was anti-tenant as well as anti-landlord.

    Then a year or so later they "tightened up" the definition of HMOs "to improve standards" (the usual lie). It became 5 or more sharers!

    Our response was simply to sell ALL of those flats, take a big tax hit to pay for inflation since we'd bought them many years before, and reinvest the money elsewhere in smaller units that are much less affordable (probably not affordable at all) to the high quality but low income people we'd been renting to.

    So NOBODY benefited from the council's greed! We NEVER paid for one of their rip-off licences because we simply got out. Our tenants lost a really good thing - as has everyone since who COULD have enjoyed living in one of our very happy, well run "high standard" flat-shares - by the council "raised the standard" by driving us all out and destroying it all.

    Westminster are NOT short of money, which is why their c/tax is so cheap, relatively anyhow. They make millions every year from, for example, from prime and super expensive parking, and business rates from large numbers of often ultra high value office blocks and premium shops and restaurants in absolutely prime locations. There was no need for them to screw things up like this for everyone just in the hope of taking a few hundred quid per property from us.

    And that, Dear Readers, is the sort of thing that usually happens: cash-strapped and/or plain greedy, out of touch councils screw (or try to screw) landlord and some of the smarter ones get out and everyone loses.

     
  • Roger  Mellie

    Landlords that never want to spend money always end up the losers. Landlords like this we can do without.

    Barry X

    Jonathan - you're probably right BUT we shouldn't judge until we know all the circumstances.

    This article only tells us she didn't pay for a licence for 8 months and that she has 7 tenants - presumably all 7 in the same property but possibly not - perhaps she owns two adjacent properties and they all got together and ganged up on her... we just don't know.

    Let's not join in with bashing and media-lynching ANY landlords unless and until we know a bit more about them and what they have really done, or not done.

     
    S l
    • S l
    • 06 June 2020 23:01 PM

    For all we know, this lady probably did not keep up with the legal requirements and although an exemplary landlord, got caught due to her own ignorance and now being branded rogue landlord and made to repay rent that she probably worked really really hard to make a good home to her tenants but due to her tenants greed, nothing can beat the pound sign in people, she is made to repay all that she had worked for. However, on the other hand, she might be a bad landlord but there is nothing to indicate so in the article, so i would go with exemplary landlord and bad luck on greedy tenants and ignorance of the law.

     
  • icon
    • 05 June 2020 09:13 AM

    If all rogue LL were got rid of there would be about 3 million homeless.
    Many of the homeless would be those from diverse communities.
    It wouldn't be long before Councils were accused of racism in preventing their LL from letting to them.

    The facts are that millions of illegal immigrants rely on rogue LL to house them.

    It would be great if ALL illegal immigrants were deported and all rogue LL stopped from being in business.

    Neither of these 2 things will ever occur!


    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Rent Repayment should never have been legislated to be returned to Tenants. If its to be paid, then the last ' 6 ' Months should go to fund the Local Authority enforcement Team.
    Similarly, the Up to 3 x Times Penalty for Deposit should not go to Tenants, who should just be entitled to their full deposit return. Any financial penalty should go to Central or Local Govt funding.

     
    S l
    • S l
    • 06 June 2020 23:05 PM

    Agreed with Possession Friend. Repayment of rent to tenants only encourages tenants to turn rogue and to lie. I had a tenant who happily lied about CO poisoning and claimed hospitalisation despite us having a gas certificate done 8 days prior to him moving in and the CO alarm fitted near the boiler in his room. These laws only served to turn tenants to lies and deception to gain easy money. nothing more. It definitely does not raise the standard of living in PRS considering that we done up the house much better than our own to attract good tenants.

     
  • icon
    • 05 June 2020 10:30 AM

    The problem with your excellent idea of fines going to Council enforcement teams is it would just be put into general council funds and not ring fenced.
    It would also be used to fund stupid Selective and Additional Licensing schemes.

    But if it could be somehow guaranteed that such fines etc would be assigned only to Council enforcement teams then that would be great.
    But can't see that ever occurring!

    Barry X

    One of a number of GOOD things about PF-UK-PF's idea is it will REMOVE the incentive for tenants to simply abuse the law to profit by eagerly scrutinising everything their poor, already beleaguered landlord does or has done, then reporting and catching out their probably perfectly decent well meaning landlord who - for whatever reason - has done just one of potentially hundreds of ridiculously burdensome and unnecessary things wrong.

    Most of these stupid laws should anyhow be abolish. Sadly that's unlikely to happen and instead we'll most certainly have the PRS made more and more complicated, and a bigger minefield for all of us, by more and more of this dreadful legislation being imposed on us.

    Laws that financially reward (to a significant amount) tenants for reporting landlords are very wrong indeed.... morally, ethically an practically. Its just a very cheap and easy way to get someone else to do the job of someone or some department at the council (though making an even worse and even more unfair mess of it because its become massively worth their while)

     
  • icon
    • 06 June 2020 23:43 PM

    Personally I believe that ALL residential tenants should have the expectation that their rental property is in full COMPLIANCE with ALL regulations.
    ALL includes the Social and Council housing sector.
    Tenants shouldn't be discriminated against dependent on how they pay their rent.
    All LL should be subject to PRS regulations or rather any LL letting should be subject to the same regulations.
    If that means a Council or HA has to prosecute itself then so be it.
    Chinese walls are available.

    Perhaps if Councils etc were subject to the same regulations we wouldn't have things like Grenfell occurring.

    Can you imagine what would have happened if this had been a private LL!?

    There would be corporate manslaughter charges and millions of compensation.
    With the Council...........................NOTHING!!!!!

    Not fair on Council tenants at all.

    I'm afraid that the PRS will be regulated out of existence.
    I have determined to leave.
    If I could do it tomorrow I would but I am not prepared to do so unless at full retail price and tax efficiency.
    But I will be going eventually.
    That wasn't my intention prior to Feb 2015 when S24 was announced.

    I would conjecture that many other LL will be considering similar actions as me.
    I believe this CV19 issue has pushed many in the PRS to a tipping point.
    The Govt eviction ban really is the end.
    It clearly shows that Govt has no respect or consideration for the small LL.
    If LL didn't realise they were on their own before they must surely realise this now.
    Do they wish to be exposed to the exponential risks of remaining in the PRS!?



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