Case Study: When a court makes an example of poor behaviour
Landlords who rent out a property must comply with a range of regulations, procedures, and legislation. Some would suggest that being a landlord in the UK is like a full-time job with so many rules and regulations to navigate, however, the regulations exist to safeguard the interests of both landlords and tenants.
Failing to comply with the regulations can result in action from councils; whilst court action may result in hefty penalties. A recent case proves this, where a landlord used a fake name to unlawfully convert a shed into five flats eventually received a £485,000 penalty.
This case started in 2013 when neighbours reported the landlord to Brent Council. A planning enforcement notice was issued in response, instructing the landlord to cease renting out the premises. However, the landlord appeared to adopt the alias “Barry” with his tenants, and his true identity remained a mystery, preventing the council from issuing a fine.
However, the landlord eventually registered the property with the land registry under the name Yehuda Levhar. After a three-year legal battle, the landlord was located and was brought to court in 2020. The outcome was a £60,000 cost order to the council, a £1,000 court fine, and a £424,000 confiscation order representing illicit profits from illegal letting activities.
A council spokesperson emphasised their commitment to maximising their powers to uphold a safe standard of living for tenants, and to provide clear guidance to landlords. While most landlords adhere to the law and use reputable agents, this extreme case is an important reminder that councils will vigorously enforce regulations to curb rogue landlords.
This content was exclusively prepared in collaboration with The Lettings Hub by Sharfaa Kerkache from award-winning Woodstock Legal Services.
Woodstock Legal Services are specialists in legal advice and solutions for the Private Rental Sector.
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