First Landlord Fixed Penalty Follows Flat Blaze

A London council has slapped a £5,000 fixed penalty fine on a landlord only days after becoming the first local authority to adopt new powers. 

Newham Council, East London, fined the landlord of a block of flats in Plaistow following a fire. An investigation revealed the apartment block had no working smoke alarms and that a few days later, tenants were still living in the flats. 

The landlord cannot be named until a 28-day penalty appeal time limit has passed. The council's mayoral advisor for housing

Councillor Terry Paul said:

“Newham is proud to be the first council in the country to adopt and make use of these new direct fines. Our swift adoption and application of the new powers underlines our commitment to protect tenants from rogue landlords. “By failing to install fire alarms this landlord clearly showed his reckless lack of care for the safety of his tenants.”

Under the power, councils can fine bad landlords up to £30,000, depending on the seriousness of the housing offences. The measure aims to give councils more power to deal with rogue landlords and to remove the need for expensive legal action. Newham Council was the first local authority to impose blanket private rental property licensing across 35,000 homes.

Letting agent jailed

Meanwhile, the letting agent, Peter Bell, was jailed for 39 months after admitting 15 theft and dishonesty offences involving landlord and tenant cash worth £92,000 at Northampton Crown Court. 

His girlfriend Rebecca Kirton was jailed for four months, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 175 hours of unpaid work. 

She admitted to four theft and dishonesty charges. 

Bell ran the agency Paris Lettings in the town, which was closed in August 2015

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Banning Orders

Suppose a landlord or agent is convicted of a “banning order offence”. In that case, a local authority may apply to the First-tier Tribunal for a banning order against the landlord or agent who committed the offence.