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London Landlord Fined Almost £90,000 For 'substandard' Basement Let

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Is it me or is DT really going anti BTL?

London landlord fined almost £90,000 for 'substandard' basement let

A landlord who owns a string of properties in north London has been fined a total of £88,000 after officials ruled one of his properties was "substandard".

Andrew Panayi, who is estimated to own around 200 properties mainly on the Caledonian Road in North London, pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court to renting out an unlicensed basement as self-contained accommodation.

Despite Islington council previously ruling that the basement - situated beneath a cafe and originally used for storage - was an "unsatisfactory and substandard unit of residential accommodation ... with inadequate light and outlook and poor living environment", Mr Panayi had let the space for 14 years since buying it in 2000, the Guardian reports.

He was fined £70,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act, reflecting the amount taken in rent. Mr Panayi was also fined a further £2,000 and ordered to pay £16,000 in court costs.

Mr Panayi became notorious in his local area after he appeared in a BBC documentary in 2012, in which he suggested he had been converting and expanding properties for years without the council's permission.

Last year, a block of 19 bedsit flats he had converted in a building that was previously a hostel was shut down by authorities because he hadn't got planning permission.

Council officials described the rooms in Holloway Road as “prison cells”, with some measuring as small as three metres by three metres.

Mr Panayi's company Ploughcane made an annual operating profit of £2.3m, according to accounts filed to Companies House last year.

One of Mr Panayi's other flats went viral last year because of its £737-a-month price tag, despite potential tenants barely having any room to move in the tiny space.

The "studio apartment", just a few metres wide, featured a bed just inches away from kitchen work surfaces.

Potential residents were told they would benefit from living just walking distance from Kings Cross train station.

At the time, Mr Panayi said he had received planning permission from the council and the picture didn't do justice to the flat.

Edited by Fairyland

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Fined one - one thousands of yearly profit for openly defying the law and making people's lives hell. And that's supposed to be a deterrent?

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Rather like LLs on one of those Ch5 documentaries, several years of warnings about unsafe electrics, no alarms, sealed exits etc in HMO. Closed down by the council so a couple of weeks later new HMO tenants still with the same problems. More warnings .... nothing really done and the LL know it so why would they be concerned. Toothless councils with officials collecting their salaries.

That is why the law needs to be changed so that councils can keep fines. At the moment most of it goes to the treasury. Why would councils bother going after errant landlords when they are already cash strapped and know there is nothing in it for them?

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14 years it was going on for

surely the council could have acted more quickly?

maybe a couple of council officials that knew about it but didn't act more quickly should also be on trial

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I agree with pipllman, but I fear the case of Andrew Panayi is a direct result of London's rising property prices. I appreciate this does not help anyone forced to rent in London, but the only way to stop people like Mr P is to use a letting agency that is not only a member of ARLA but has developed a good local reputation.

Property prices that are beyond the reach of working Londoners on salaries below £35,000 (and the rest, I hear you say) will remain a problem for years to come. Renting is already becoming the new norm in London and as rental prices rise, tenants will be forced to live further away from the centre of the city.

Any radical solution would drive out the overseas investors who keep London's economy afloat. I guess it is time to look at rental prices, rather than sold values as a barometer of the London property market.

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I agree with pipllman, but I fear the case of Andrew Panayi is a direct result of London's rising property prices. I appreciate this does not help anyone forced to rent in London, but the only way to stop people like Mr P is to use a letting agency that is not only a member of ARLA but has developed a good local reputation.

Property prices that are beyond the reach of working Londoners on salaries below £35,000 (and the rest, I hear you say) will remain a problem for years to come. Renting is already becoming the new norm in London and as rental prices rise, tenants will be forced to live further away from the centre of the city.

Any radical solution would drive out the overseas investors who keep London's economy afloat. I guess it is time to look at rental prices, rather than sold values as a barometer of the London property market.

I think Mr P could be better stopped by being banned from being a landlord. Which he should be. I am very confused by letting agent & good local reputation - this is something I haven't come across.

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I think Mr P could be better stopped by being banned from being a landlord. Which he should be. I am very confused by letting agent & good local reputation - this is something I haven't come across.

Does anyone know the figures for how many landlords have been banned ?

Professional sociopath C###S like mr p would be a start .

I notice Boris was making noises last month ...

Boris Johnson wants to ban and fine rogue landlords

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/property/boris_johnson_wants_to_ban_and_fine_rogue_landlords_1_4224015

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Its in the housing bill discussion paper, which I haven't read yet. Being considered for HMO's, not sure about regular PRS yet.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-tackle-rogue-landlords-and-overcrowded-housing

The discussion paper was published today.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/extending-mandatory-licensing-of-houses-in-multiple-occupation-and-related-reforms

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The problem with banning them is what about the situation where the LL has 10 or 100 or 1000 properties, are you going to kick out all those tenants overnight if the LL misbehaves?

An alternative would be moving the management over to a housing association and charging the LL a hefty management fee, but then what if the other properties are substandard, that could quickly get the housing association into trouble.

Compulsory purchase order at market value? that might be just what the LL wants anyway.

Compulsory purchase order at below market value? that would land the problem with the bank.

Perhaps the best option would be a regulated rent, all the tenants get to pay say 50% of previous rent handled through some legal/court process and the landlord can then decide for himself how quickly he wants to wind up the business.

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Rather like LLs on one of those Ch5 documentaries, several years of warnings about unsafe electrics, no alarms, sealed exits etc in HMO. Closed down by the council so a couple of weeks later new HMO tenants still with the same problems. More warnings .... nothing really done and the LL know it so why would they be concerned. Toothless councils with officials collecting their salaries.

Most councils have decimated their private sector housing standards enforcement teams hence the paucity of enforcement action against rogue landlords.

When I trained as an EHO in the early 1990's the Council I worked for had a team of 4 EHO's and two surveyors specifically covering housing standards including residential caravans etc. By the time I left that Council (mid noughties) the council had cut that team down to two poor trained Technical Officers.

You can repeat that pattern across most LA's in the UK. Interestingly most of that destruction occurred during the liebour years.

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I think Mr P could be better stopped by being banned from being a landlord. Which he should be. I am very confused by letting agent & good local reputation - this is something I haven't come across.

Good letting agents seem to be correlated with rural areas. In the cities - even those without an overall shortage of accommodation - the agents tend to be a pain.

Though that's purely anecdotal, based on my own (many years) experience. YMMV.

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The problem with banning them is what about the situation where the LL has 10 or 100 or 1000 properties, are you going to kick out all those tenants overnight if the LL misbehaves?

There's some legal rights dating back to the 1980s for tenants to require a landlord to appoint a manager. The intention is that it should help tenants whose landlords are neglecting essential repairs/maintenance, but of course Sir Humphrey scuppered it in practice.

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Most councils have decimated their private sector housing standards enforcement teams hence the paucity of enforcement action against rogue landlords.

When I trained as an EHO in the early 1990's the Council I worked for had a team of 4 EHO's and two surveyors specifically covering housing standards including residential caravans etc. By the time I left that Council (mid noughties) the council had cut that team down to two poor trained Technical Officers.

You can repeat that pattern across most LA's in the UK. Interestingly most of that destruction occurred during the liebour years.

The 1990s may have been a Golden Age there. Your experience came in the wake of the era of the 1977 housing act that had driven out all but the gangsters until new Shorthold law re-opened the market (and accidental landlords from 1989-HPC kick-started a non-gangster market).

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Most councils have decimated their private sector housing standards enforcement teams hence the paucity of enforcement action against rogue landlords.

When I trained as an EHO in the early 1990's the Council I worked for had a team of 4 EHO's and two surveyors specifically covering housing standards including residential caravans etc. By the time I left that Council (mid noughties) the council had cut that team down to two poor trained Technical Officers.

You can repeat that pattern across most LA's in the UK. Interestingly most of that destruction occurred during the liebour years.

Very interesting.

In NI, tenants are completely dependent on the EHO having the will and the resources to prosecute LL’s as the EHO are now responsible for everything from tenant deposits and LL registration to uninhabitable properties and LL harassment. EHO staffing levels have not been increased to accommodate the additional work however they have been incentivised by the council keeping any fines they recover. The tenant gets nothing, even in cases of unprotected deposits there is no provision within the legislation for tenants deposit to be returned to them – all funds recovered via LL fines go to the council.

Having been down this route with EHO I would not encourage NI tenants to bother. It's just a stressful waste of time. In my experience there is not the will, the knowledge nor the resources within the EHO to comply with its duties.

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Very interesting.

In NI, tenants are completely dependent on the EHO having the will and the resources to prosecute LL’s as the EHO are now responsible for everything from tenant deposits and LL registration to uninhabitable properties and LL harassment. EHO staffing levels have not been increased to accommodate the additional work however they have been incentivised by the council keeping any fines they recover. The tenant gets nothing, even in cases of unprotected deposits there is no provision within the legislation for tenants deposit to be returned to them – all funds recovered via LL fines go to the council.

Having been down this route with EHO I would not encourage NI tenants to bother. It's just a stressful waste of time. In my experience there is not the will, the knowledge nor the resources within the EHO to comply with its duties.

Does the Environmental protection Act 1990 extend to NI? If so you can use Section 82 to take your own nuisance action (for disrepair etc) against the landlord.

As for 'EHO' often what you are actually dealing with is a poorly training Technical officer with no enforcement training or experience and thus reluctant to go beyond informal notices.

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Does the Environmental protection Act 1990 extend to NI? If so you can use Section 82 to take your own nuisance action (for disrepair etc) against the landlord.

As for 'EHO' often what you are actually dealing with is a poorly training Technical officer with no enforcement training or experience and thus reluctant to go beyond informal notices.

After several illegal eviction notices and a personal threat (all of which are evidenced and EHO were aware of) I left. Left PRS entirely actually as I just don't consider it to be a safe place to live. Now that my stress has alleviated I am looking into legal proceedings. Thanks :)

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After several illegal eviction notices and a personal threat (all of which are evidenced and EHO were aware of) I left. Left PRS entirely actually as I just don't consider it to be a safe place to live. Now that my stress has alleviated I am looking into legal proceedings. Thanks :)

Good luck.

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After several illegal eviction notices and a personal threat (all of which are evidenced and EHO were aware of) I left. Left PRS entirely actually as I just don't consider it to be a safe place to live. Now that my stress has alleviated I am looking into legal proceedings. Thanks :)

I only worked in Housing standards enforcement for a short period. Managed to do two works in default cases on defective PRS houses and get the costs whacked onto the properties as charges with hefty interest accumulators. Landlords not happy at all :lol:

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Does anyone know the figures for how many landlords have been banned ?

Professional sociopath C###S like mr p would be a start .

I notice Boris was making noises last month ...

Boris Johnson wants to ban and fine rogue landlords

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/property/boris_johnson_wants_to_ban_and_fine_rogue_landlords_1_4224015

Funny that Boris only wants this now at the end of his Mayoral tenure. Presumably he is now worried that the plebs won't vote for him. He could have done this years ago but was never bothered. Now he has ambitions to be future Tory leader/PM he is suddenly concerned about the common pleb. I hate this man angry_small.gif!

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The problem with banning them is what about the situation where the LL has 10 or 100 or 1000 properties, are you going to kick out all those tenants overnight if the LL misbehaves?

An alternative would be moving the management over to a housing association and charging the LL a hefty management fee, but then what if the other properties are substandard, that could quickly get the housing association into trouble.

Compulsory purchase order at market value? that might be just what the LL wants anyway.

Compulsory purchase order at below market value? that would land the problem with the bank.

Perhaps the best option would be a regulated rent, all the tenants get to pay say 50% of previous rent handled through some legal/court process and the landlord can then decide for himself how quickly he wants to wind up the business.

Lots of council/govt/mod owned land everywhere in the UK. Buy up a few thousand static caravans (can be found for under a grand), put them on am ex-airfield as emergency accomodation and wait. A few months of landlords not having income should solve the problem.

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