The profile of rogue landlords over the past decade has changed from ‘chancers’ to hardened criminals who use aliases, fake companies and “multiple layers of obfuscation”, it has been claimed.
The comments have been made by Ben Reeve Lewis, a high profile freelance tenancy relations officer and media pundit for the sector.
“When I started in this game in 1990 it wasn’t like that. Apart from a couple of notable criminals, the sector wasn’t generally used for systematic and organised cash cultivation by any means necessary,” he says in his Landlord Law blog.
“The modern criminal landlord who threatens their tenant is the kind of landlord who has little compunction in evading licensing or HMRC, ignoring repairs, [Housing Benefit] HB fraud and theft of utilities. This is why a multi-agency approach is so important.”
Ben’s comments have been prompted by the recent and shocking case of a ‘disgraceful and unacceptable’ Nottingham landlord who faces fines and legal costs of £30,000 following a successful multi-agency approach prosecution.
Reehan UI-Haq Rashid was licenced by Nottingham City Council to operate an HMO property on Wollaton Hall Drive (pictured) but was also a minicab drive and had an interest in a car dealership.
In court he was found guilty of having intimidated the students within the house including making derogatory comments to two female tenants, had failed to protect their deposits, let himself in without permission and failed to manage the property adequately. One of the students dropped out of her course to escape the ‘misery’ created by Rashid.
“While the fines imposed under HMO offences were low, Rashid received suspended prison sentence for breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, including his threatening behaviour, and substantial financial compensation was ordered to the students, and will assist them to help them finish their studies,” said Richard Chubb from Nottingham City Council.