Hundreds of Buy to Lets Unsafe To Live In

Nearly 600 homes were upgraded last year after complaints about poor standards from tenants to Westminster City Council.

As a result of tip-offs from tenants, the council inspected 1,712 private rented homes – serving 206 legal notices and prosecuting seven landlords.

The council ordered property owners to put right 771 hazards – including fire risks and health and safety issues for tenants.

As a result 111 shared houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and 461 buy to let houses and flats were improved.

Cllr Jonathan Glanz, Westminster’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Around two in five homes in Westminster make up the private rented sector in the city, making it one of the UK’s largest; and so the council rightly takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that action is taken where necessary to ensure that all housing in the sector is of an acceptable standard.

“The majority of landlords in Westminster do provide decent homes, but there are powers in place which we, and other local authorities, can call upon when landlords renting privately to tenants in their area do not play by the rules.”

£2,500 court bill for a landlord

Landlord Ali Shan failed to comply with improvement notices at a shared HMO he rented out in Derby despite several calls and letters from the city council.

His rental property was cold and draughty because of broken windows and rotten frames. Doors were patched up and locks failed to work.

At Derby Magistrates Court, he Shan was found guilty of failing to comply with the improvement notice and was ordered to pay fines and costs of more than £2,500.

Councillor Hardyal Dhindsa, cabinet member for planning, environment and public protection, said: ”Had a fire started in the house it would have put lives at risk as there were no smoke detectors to raise the alarm and doors so poorly fitting and damaged that the fire would rapidly spread.

“The council identified eight different hazards that put the health, wellbeing and safety of the tenants at risk.”

Gas poisoning risk

Landlord Colin Hanson, 55, “blatantly and deliberately disregarded” laws protecting tenants from the potentially fatal consequences of defective gas work and carbon monoxide poisoning, a court was told.

Hull magistrates heard he ignored orders to make gas repairs. Hanson admitted two gas safety charges and was jailed for 16 weeks suspended for a year, but must carry out 260 hours of community work and pay £500 costs.

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