Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Crackdown on rogue landlords in Blackburn and Darwen - A reflection on why regulation is required in Hyndburn

I cannot see the argument that the Private Rented Sector in Accrington does not require regulating with the pending Landlord Licensing Scheme (1 Oct).

Below is an article on Blackburn's scheme and comments from Telegraph readers. I thought it reflective.


FOUR men have been fined a total of almost £20,000 thanks to new rules to curb rogue landlords.

The four were prosecuted by council bosses for not measuring up to strict new regulations introduced in parts of Blackburn and Darwen.

David Ashcroft, who owns four properties in Newton Street, Darwen, was fined £10,000 for breaches including not connecting a house's boiler to electricity - so it had no hot water.

He was also found guilty at Blackburn Magistrates' Court of failing to apply for a licence and not complying with environmental regulations.

On top of the fine, he was ordered to pay costs to the council and £15 towards a fund for victims of crime.

Three landlords in the Infirmary area of Blackburn were also fined by magistrates.

Shraz Ashraf, who owns a house in Longshaw Lane, and Khalid Ali, who has a property in Dyson Street, were both fined £2,000 for not having property licences, £352 costs and £15 towards a victims' fund.

And Shahid Ullah, who owns two houses in Rockcliffe Street, was handed a £4,000 fine for not having licences for the properties, £352 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

After the court hearings, Lee Wright, Blackburn with Darwen Council's housing standards manager, said: "We want to work with landlords and local communities to improve the quality of life for residents.

"We want landlords to take their responsibilities seriously and take a more responsible role towards the management of their properties."

The cases were brought under the selective licensing scheme, which was piloted in central Darwen and Infirmary.

It requires landlords to apply for a licence and to prove they are 'fit and proper' to have tenants living in their properties.

It could be rolled out across the whole of the Blackburn with Darwen borough in future.

YOUR SAY Your Lancashire
barryinthailand, Jomtien says...
3:33pm Wed 26 May 10

So are they now ex landlords or just able to be fined again? Surely the right course would be to cease the properties as they are not licensed and take care of the residents who would then be under your care.

Nah cost too much money to relieve an unfit landlord of housing people, its like saying ok your a peado but still teach kids.

Ken Shuffles, burnley says...
4:14pm Wed 26 May 10

It's about time. These Private Landlords should be monitored.

whereistedward, darwen says...
6:30pm Wed 26 May 10

If the landlord refuses to sign up to the Licence or refuses to pay the deposit then he/she cannot rent property out in that area. If the Council withdraws the Licence for a breach of the regulations then again, he/she cannot rent houses out in the prescribed area.

spyman, blackburn says...
7:19pm Wed 26 May 10

they should get hold of a lanlord called mor sharif a x cabby driver in bank top area of blackburn his houses or disguting full of scums an druggies ... dogy people etc,,,,, can go on an on....

p.s an miss haq got houses in hancock street an stanfield stree

retired one, Blackburn says...
10:09pm Wed 26 May 10

They should all be licenced and monitored regularly.
A lot of areas are now run-down through the greed of absent landlords who are only interested in collecting the money which is guaranteed through housing benefit.
They do not care that some areas are becoming slums because of the tenants that occupy these properties.

martra1964, hoddlesden says...
11:09pm Wed 26 May 10

I hope the taxman is now investigating these people.

choudrey, blackburn says...
12:11am Thu 27 May 10

spyman i know who u on about that scum got shop on bolton road too and 4 house on stanfield street he let any one in the house he should be ban renting them properties out...and another who lives in bank top got few house on bank top area all them dirty bin bags in the garden and mess all over the alley disgusting ....just hope thy bring the new rules in asap

choudrey, blackburn says...
12:11am Thu 27 May 10

spyman i know who u on about that scum got shop on bolton road too and 4 house on stanfield street he let any one in the house he should be ban renting them properties out...and another who lives in bank top got few house on bank top area all them dirty bin bags in the garden and mess all over the alley disgusting ....just hope thy bring the new rules in asap

mike999peters, Chorley says...
9:32am Thu 27 May 10

The rules are already in place and the rogue landlords are being caught, but not as quickly as they should.

I used a company to sue my landlord and get my deposit back, they didn;t charge me anything wither, they get paid from suing the guilty party.


anon 7, preston says...
8:45pm Thu 27 May 10

theres another 1 in darwen who rents these types of houses out and he is a shop owner on bolton road who wont maintain properties properly and gets bob a job in to do odd bits of work who are not qualified.

mill hill resident, blackburn says...
2:27pm Sun 30 May 10

Mo Zarif and Mrs hack you are lowest of the low destroyed Griffin with all the scum you have housed round here which is why most of the area being demolishesd the sad fact is they will now purchase houses in other areas and destroy them.
The houses that got crack house closures were his and the filth that his tennants throw out and live in is disgusting.
They have got away with far to much for a very long time come on bwdbc sort them out once and for all.

YOUR SAYYour Lancashire
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The government says regulating letting agents would create red tape
The government is under fire after scrapping plans for tougher regulation of the letting industry.

A landlords register and new regulation of letting agents were to be introduced by the previous Labour administration.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) said cutting the plans would aid rogue landlords. Citizen's Advice also criticised the decision.

But Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the sector was already governed by a well-established framework.

He added that the government wanted to focus instead on increasing home ownership.

"With the vast majority of England's three million private tenants happy with the service they receive, I am satisfied that the current system strikes the right balance between the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords," Mr Shapps told Parliament.


Continue reading the main story
Retail manager Adam French said his agent did not pass on money to a landlord or return his deposit on a property he had rented.

He broke up with his partner and is now living with his grandparents.

Said Mr French: "It's put me off the whole rental affair.

"You think people are trustworthy and you think it's a big company.

"But they can still get away with taking money from you that doesn't belong to them."

He said Labour's plans would create too much red tape.

But ARLA, the body that represents letting agents, criticised the decision.

Ian Potter, operations manager at ARLA, said: "A great fear is that a lot of agents who were looking at tidying up their practices will now feel they can run amok and add to the poor reputation we have at the moment."

Citizens Advice also said the move to scrap stronger regulation was a mistake.

In a recent survey of 1,300 tenants, it found 73% were unhappy with the service they received from their agent.

Common problems included extra fees and poor communication.

The charge for checking references or renewing a contract can range from £10 to more than £200.

Lizzie Iron, head of welfare policy at Citizen's Advice, said: "We are really disappointed [the government] has decided not to take this forward, because we felt that regulation was going to be really important to give tenants peace of mind and better support for landlords."

The agency also questioned the government's decision to focus on boosting home ownership.

"While this may be a laudable aim, our evidence shows that home ownership is not the answer for everyone, especially for people on low or fluctuating incomes who find it hard to get a mortgage in the first place," Ms Iron said.
BBC 14 juNe 2010

Re: Selective Licensing of Landlords
...and it seems at leat one half of the coalition are happy with the results of selective licensing.

Landlord Licensing Scheme has teeth (Liberal Democrats in Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn and Rossendale)