June 14

182,000 reasons you must avoid becoming a rogue landlord

Five rules to avoid becoming a rogue landlord

A few weeks ago, I wrote about three buy-to-let market innovations landlords must follow. Two of those three – landlord licensing and the rogue landlord database – have now been introduced. In many local authorities, they are in full swing.
I’ve also warned that the new power being passed to local authorities will lead to more poor landlords being taken to court and receiving hefty fines. Councils must be seen to be using the law, and it’s a pretty good revenue-raising exercise, too.
If any landlord thinks this is all a storm in a teacup, they had better think again. I’m guessing that Leila Amjadi from Birmingham now wishes she had treated landlord laws with a little more respect. She has been labelled a rogue landlord. And her ‘mistakes’ have cost her £182,000 in fines and court costs and compensation. Her story should be a warning to all landlords.

You can’t let unacceptable living conditions to tenants

Leila Amjadi has been labelled a rogue landlord. The owner of four HMOs in the Birmingham area had been letting properties deemed to be in unacceptable living condition. Amjadi’s properties were considered unhealthy and unsafe.

You must be licensed if required

If you’re a landlord of an HMO, that HMO must be licensed. You may also have to license other properties, too, depending on the local authority in which they are located. Unlicensed properties will get you a big fine.
Amjadi’s properties were unlicensed HMOs.

You can’t ignore complaints

If your tenant makes a complaint or reports a fault, you must take it seriously. Staying in touch and not rejecting tenants are two of the rules to ensure you maintain tenant relationships and avoid conflict.
The Magistrates Court in Birmingham was told how Amjadi had ignored numerous complaints made by tenants. These included complaints about smoke detectors, missing fire blankets, and inadequate fire doors.

You can’t ignore warnings

Local authorities won’t simply slap you with a fine or ambush you into court proceedings. They’ll let you know what you need to do to put things right. They’ll give you an opportunity to do so. The seven buy-to-let regulations that could cost landlords thousands include the safety of your tenants and landlord licensing.
Amjadi had deliberately used delaying tactics with both her tenants and Birmingham City Council.

You can’t be unscrupulous

In making the court’s decision, the district judge said that Amjadi was an “unscrupulous landlord who did not care for the health and safety of her tenants. Her behaviour and excuses resulted in them suffering unacceptable living conditions.”
Amjadi and her company, Vertu Capital Limited, were found guilty of a total of 35 offences in relation to her four HMOs. The fine, compensation payments and costs totalled £182,314.90. We don’t think there can be a bigger incentive for all landlords to do the right thing.

Five rules to avoid becoming a rogue landlord

Fortunately, most landlords are good landlords. They care about their tenants, and they look after their properties. While Amjadi’s story is one of persistently and deliberately flouting the law, it’s difficult for landlords to stay one step ahead of all the changes in rules and regulations, as I discussed in my article “178 reasons the law causes buy-to-let landlords such stress”.
Amjadi’s story should be a warning to all, and highlights that you should:

  • Never let your property in a state of unacceptable living conditions
  • Never leave properties unlicensed if the local authority requires them to be licensed
  • Never ignore tenant complaints
  • Never ignore warnings
  • Always treat your tenants with respect, and don’t try to screw them to the wall to make an extra penny or two

Finally, be warned that local authorities will wield their power. As the Director of Housing at Birmingham City Council summed up:
“This is the largest fine that Birmingham has seen for these types of offences. It sends out a strong message to all landlords that Birmingham City Council will use all its enforcement powers to ensure that tenants are protected from rogue landlords who neglect their responsibilities.”
We’ve got a feeling that Birmingham City Council’s example will be followed by other local authorities around the UK.
Don’t get caught out. To discover how we help landlords to stay profitable in buy-to-let, call one of the Ezytrac team today on+44  0 1522  503 717. We’ll help you navigate the minefield of the Rogue Landlord Database and avoid a very expensive banning order.
Live with passion
Brett Alegre-Wood


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