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First use of criminal order against landlord

Tom Wall13/04/2016 - 13:52

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One of properties rented out by Mr Sahota
One of properties rented out by Mr Sahota

Wolverhampton has become the first council in the country to impose a criminal behaviour order (CBO) on a rogue landlord.

Jaspal Singh Sahota, who rents a number of properties in the city, was last week issued with the order at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court for causing harassment, alarm and distress to his tenants by letting out poor quality homes.

The order, which will span 10 years, requires him to find an agent to manage his properties and provide the council with a list of all his rental properties.

If Mr Sahota does not comply with the order he could be imprisoned for up to five years or face an unlimited fine.

Lesley Roberts, City of Wolverhampton Council strategic director for housing, said: ‘This is an excellent result and shows that we are determined to use whatever legislation we can in order to protect our residents from rogue landlords.’

Housing blogger Giles Peaker, a partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors, told EHN that it was the first use of the powers against landlords in England.

‘It’s not the primary purpose of a CBO but it’s an interesting use. I'd guess other councils would look at it. It could be effective, but it is a high standard of proof,’ he said.

Housing consultant Stephen Battersby said local authorities should use whatever powers are appropriate for dealing with a specific problem.

‘I would only say that this should all be part of a coherent and coordinated strategy for dealing with the private rented sector,’ he said.

Councils can apply for CBOs for landlords convicted of criminal offences. The order is aimed at tackling the most serious offenders. The court must be satisfied that the landlord has engaged in behaviour that caused, or was likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person.

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