A story that has caught my eye recently is about a landlord that acted before he thought things through. As most of you may know the only way to remove a tenant is via notice or eviction, this can be a lengthy process but for those that like to ignore the law like the Wembley landlord who illegally evicted tenants from his property, it is important to note that any other way can have dire consequences. This particular landlord has been sentenced to four months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay costs of £20,000! Illegally evicting six tenants from his Wembley property cost him £9,000 in costs and £11,000 in compensation.
This landlord owned eight properties in Brent, he was prosecuted by Brent Council for his unlawful eviction of six tenants, as well as for his failure to have a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence, and for the poor conditions in the house discovered by Brent enforcement officers during an unannounced visit in January 2016.
You may not know that most councils require a licence to be a landlord, even if you let to one person or a group. The rules vary depending on how many people that you have in your investment but if you do not obtain permission you may find that you have a surprise visit from the council.
The court heard that, although the landlord was receiving £3,500 per month in rent, the property was in a state of disrepair with the front of the house being used to dump rubbish. When tenants of the property started to complain to the landlord about the condition of the property, he fraudulently told the courts that the tenants were squatters and unknown to him, and issued a claim to evict them.
He then obtained a possession order from the court and used it to evict the tenants in February 2016, giving all the tenants – including one with two young children – just two hours to move out, refusing requests to wait until children had returned from school. He assaulted one of them in the process, a crime for which he was convicted in May 2016.
This goes to show that trying to do things quickly and cut corners can come back with a vengeance. You need to make sure that from start to finish every action that you take with your investment and tenants is the right one! If you are unsure if your investment falls into an area where a licence is needed, need advice on what works are needed or just need free independent advice about your property investment or current tenants then feel free to call me.