Published 6th May 2020
Looking back, April 2020 was a month quite unlike any other we’ve experienced. While this article is not especially intended to discuss the Coronavirus, the effects of this pandemic are so far-reaching that it’s almost impossible not to mention it at least once. Of course – as discussed in our other article this month – the lockdown has indeed affected many councils around the country in their implementation of property licensing.
Yet, while it may still be a little while before things can carry on as usual, regulation in the PRS is still ticking away and councils are doing what they can to ensure that standards within the sector are kept up. Especially during a time when many tenants may find themselves in more vulnerable positions. The below stories reflect the biggest updates we’ve had this past month within the sector.
At Kamma, we understand that property licensing is complex, inconsistent and ever changing. Our technology and software cuts through that complexity to keep you on top of all the changes with clear and accurate advice. We analyse and sort data to help agents, landlords and surveyors understand the impact of Property Licensing and Planning Permission on their properties and assets. By leveraging technology and data, we want to ensure that no tenant has to live in substandard or unsafe accommodation again.
April’s Top Rogue Landlord Story:
Mr Arise, the owner of the property, landed himself with one of the largest landlord fines this year after inspectors found his HMO to be in a shocking state of disrepair. He was found guilty of 17 offences with inspectors noting a swathe of problems included boarded up windows, leaky pipe, lack of bins, defective guttering plus many more.
His property also failed fire safety measures as the kitchen and hallways were obstructed. Southend magistrates found Mr. Arise guilty in his absence and fined him £5,000 for each offence along with costs and victim surcharge.
Ian Gilbert, the council’s head of housing commented: “There is no excuse for allowing a property to fail on so many different safety measures, which is supported by the severity of the fine given. We hope this fine serves as a deterrent to those who fail to maintain their properties appropriately.”
Other Top Stories:
At the beginning of April, Liverpool City Council applied for a Judicial Review of the government’s decision not to renew its landmark Landlord Licensing scheme.
Despite backing from Merseyside Police, Mersey Fire and Rescue Service and the majority of the residents involved in the consultation, Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, refused their application earlier in the year to continue Liverpool’s citywide licensing scheme into 2025.
During the city’s Landlord licensing scheme which ran over the last five years, and ended on March 31, there were 51,764 property licences in force, issued to 10,074 licence holders. The council’s enforcement team conducted over 34,000 compliance checks of properties and identified 65 per cent as not being fully complaint with licence conditions upon first visit.
The city’s mayor, Joe Anderson, cited the council’s “moral obligation” to ensure the pioneering scheme continued for the many thousands of residents living within the city’s private rented sector.
The new Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, announced a few new faces to be promoted into the party’s shadow cabinet in the first week of this month. One of these promotions included Bristol MP, Thangam Debbonaire, who now occupies the post of shadow housing secretary.
On announcing his new appointments Sir Keir Starmer commented: “This is a new team that will be relentlessly focused on acting in the national interest to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding Labour so that it can win the next election.”
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