Any landlord thinking he or she can cut corners on safety should keep an eye on the media for reports of criminal cases brought against landlords for breaches of safety rules. The message coming from the local authorites and organisations like the Health and Safety Executive is clear- you will not get away with it. A selection of recent cases will illustrate the point.
A north London landlord admitted to nearly a hundred offences relating to residential properties in the north of the country’s capital. As well as the criminal case the landlord is being taken to the civil courts by former tenants claiming refunds of rents.
Most of the criminal offences were concerned with the safety of the properties. Recent court appearances left the landlord with fines in excess of £60,000 as well as costs orders against him. The properties in this case were houses in multiple occupation which normally need special licences from the local authority. Typically, a HMO might consist of a large house divided up into small units like bedsits where people share some facilities. Landlord insurance policy holders can easily check all the rules and regulations by visiting the many websites designed to provide information to landlords and tenants.
Meanwhile in Bradford a landlord was ordered to do two hundred hours of community service for gas safety offences. He rented out a house to a mother with two children but the gas boiler was faulty. The tenants were left without heating and the landlord failed to repair the boiler and failed to produce the necessary inspection certificates.
In Lincolnshire a fine of £8,000 was handed out to a residential landlord for breaches of fire safety regulations.
The more publicity that is given to cases like these the better if it helps to drive up standards