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Monday, April 22, 2024

Landlord hit with £9k fine after ignoring warnings that faulty fire safety equipment posed a ‘significant risk’ to tenant

Landlord hit with £9k fine after ignoring warnings that faulty fire safety equipment posed a 'significant risk' to tenant

A London landlord has been hit with a fine of more than £9,000 after enforcement officers uncovered faulty fire safety equipment that posed a ‘significant risk’ to the tenant. Brent Council subsequently took the rogue landlord to court after they had repeatedly ignored other warnings to fix the property dating back to last year.

The flat in Harlesden was first inspected by council officers in June 2023 after the tenant complained that essential repair work to the property had not been completed. A follow up visit earlier this month revealed that, not only had the previous issues not been fixed, the enforcement team uncovered further hazards that made the apartment unsafe.

Following the first inspection, the landlord Kevin McLoughlin, was ordered to fix the issues, which included problems with the ventilation and a broken electric heater, by August 2023. However, when enforcement officers went to check, the repair work hadn’t been done and they also found a faulty fire control panel that posed a ‘significant risk’ in the event of a fire.

To ensure the tenants safety, landlords are responsible for ensuring that fire safety equipment is properly maintained and in good working order. Mr McLoughlin was told to repair the fire control panel within seven days.

A final inspection of the flat was carried out in September 2023 but the council claimed it was clear that the notices issued to Mr McLoughlin ‘had been ignored’ and he had failed to address any of the issues identified. The council subsequently took the landlord to court due to the ‘severe negligence and risk’ posed to residents.

Mr McLoughlin pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the requirements of the improvement notice at the hearing on February 15. The landlord was fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £9,212.50.

Cllr Promise Knight Image: Brent Council

Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness and Renters’ Security, Cllr Promise Knight, said: “Despite repeated directives, the landlord demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety and well-being of residents by failing to address any of the hazards identified.”

She added: “Everyone deserves a safe and comfortable place to live. Rogue landlords in our borough will find themselves facing hefty fines and possibly a criminal conviction. We will use whatever powers we have to hold them to account.”

All landlords renting out properties in Brent will be required to have a ‘selective licence’ from 1 April of this year, other than in Wembley Park as the ward does not meet the ‘critical threshold’ for repairs. The council hopes the scheme will ‘drive up living standards’ for renters.

Cllr Knight said the council is ‘delighted’ that the government approved the scheme borough-wide which it claims will give clarity to landlords regarding their responsibilities towards property management and safety. She called it a ‘major win’ for renters, landlords and the private rental sector as a whole.

The scheme was initially rolled out in three wards last year, Dollis Hill, Harlesden and Kensal Green, and Willesden, due to poor property conditions and anti-social behaviour in these areas. Brent Council issued its first banning order the same year, which prevented the landlord from letting out properties in England for the next five years.

Cllr Knight said: “At a time when housing is at a crisis point across London, the introduction of selective licensing across Brent […] will offer renters the assurance of security and safety when it comes to their home.”

She added: “Brent will continue to work in partnership with good professional landlords but has a zero-tolerance approach towards rogue landlords. Any rogue landlords in Brent should be on notice that this expansion means that there will be nowhere in Brent for them to hide.”

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