A Scottish landlord narrowly escaped a jail sentence this week after he removed the doors and windows of a pregnant teenager’s home.
Mr Simpson of Fife owned the property that was rented out to Michaela Landless but when she started struggling to pay the rent he decided he wanted to get her out of the home and took matters into his own hands. He instructed his three sons to remove the front doors and windows of the property while Miss Landless was inside. She had no prior warning to the action and became hysterical when the men started hammering on the door and windows of the flat. At the time she was eight months pregnant.
Sentencing Simpson to 150 hours community service Sheriff McNair said: “The law was put in place to protect tenants good and bad from landlords who took steps without following court procedure to evict them. Perhaps the most famous landlord of this sort was [Peter] Rachman.
“I don’t suggest your actions were anything on this scale. But Miss Landless was in an advanced stage of pregnancy when you and your sons behaved in the manner that you did. It must have been a very frightening experience for her. The court must make it abundantly clear that unlawful eviction will not be tolerated.”
Mr Simpson believed that as a landlord he should have had the right to evict Miss Landless but said he “was not very good at paperwork”. Of course many buy to let insurance policies would have enabled him go through the legal process easily. On a happier footnote to the drama Miss Landless gave birth to a healthy baby boy a few weeks later.
A city in the North West of England has decided to fight back against anti-social elements in the area and private landlords, social landlords and tenants are leading the way.
In a declaration of war on anti social behaviour, all the leading community services in Liverpool have joined together to try and make their city a safer and more pleasant place to live in. Although the city experienced only minor problems in the summer riots it has an ongoing problem with gangs and other criminal elements.
Community leaders have now stepped in and officially launched the “Be Safe” campaign in St Georges Hall in the city centre. Representatives from the NHS, Liverpool City Council, The Fire Service and the Police were joined by Housing Associations and tenants to launch a set of standards that will ensure residents and tenants in all properties get a fair deal and that landlords also are treated equitably by their tenants.
Community leaders believe a strict adherence to the code will force anti-social elements away from decent tenants and landlords leaving them to go about their daily lives without fear. Angela Forster, a director at a housing association and a speaker at the meeting, said “By working together with residents and taking a consistent approach, it makes it very clear to those people who commit crime and anti-social behaviour that it will not be tolerated in Liverpool.”
The initiative will come as a relief for many landlords in the city who have seen their landlord insurance premiums rise as a result of claims arising from the actions of vandals and rogue tenants. Community leaders will closely monitor the scheme over the next few months and in the meantime other cities will be looking on with interest.
As the boom in the residential letting sector continues apace, property investors in Northumberland are being given the chance to consult experts in the field.
The decision by Northumberland County Council to organise an open day for private landlords across the county illustrates the growing importance of the private letting sector in the UK today. The housing shortage is becoming acute in many areas of the UK and in Northumberland the continued paucity of new builds is affecting the region badly.
New landlords received information about all aspects of the profession, from experts in a variety of skills. The National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) were both represented and gave new landlords an insight into the business, giving them tips on insurance for let property, letting agents and the relationship between landlord and tenant. A spokesman from the Northumberland Fire and Rescue service spoke about health and safety issues around fire and a Customs and Excise officer gave tips on how to arrange VAT reductions and exemptions when renovating empty homes.
Northumberland County Council provided officers from their welfare and benefits section to advise on the implications of the new Welfare reform Bill for tenants and landlords, while another officer explained the issues around the equality and diversity rights of tenants.
Peter Millar, a member of the Northumberland Landlords forum who helped organise the event was delighted with the feedback he received, saying “Those attending seemed to find it extremely useful. The speakers provided information on a wide range of subjects which are all pertinent to landlords in managing and improving their properties. As a steering group we are always keen to hear what else is helpful to them so that we can guide the content of future events.”