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First landlord in England is banned after tribunal ruling

A landlord has become the first in England to be banned from the private rented sector after being found not to be a fit and property person to be licenced for an HMO.

David Beattie from Telford has been ordered to pay back housing benefit paid to him by Telford and Wrekin Council for two of his former tenants after the Council applied for a banning order and rent repayment order.

A tribunal hearing in August in Birmingham found that Beattie had issued a licence instead of an assured short hold tenancy in a deliberate attempt to mislead tenants as to their legal rights and security of tenure. The licences stated to tenants that they could be evicted in 48 hours or fewer.

The tribunal heard that Mr Beattie, knowing he would be refused an HMO licence if he were to apply for it, continued to run a seven bedroom house in Dudmaston, Hollinswood, and advertise rooms to let in it.

Inspections carried out by Telford and Wrekin Council officers in 2018 found evidence of five people living there. The Council, in its application to the tribunal, said Beattie was not prepared to sell nor employ an agent to manage any of his properties.

The order means for the next five years Beattie cannot let out a house, be involved in letting or property management. His tenants at his seven properties will, however, be able to stay until the end of their tenancies but they cannot be replaced after they leave.

Beattie has also been ordered to pay back to Telford and Wrekin Council £1,924.65 in housing benefit for two of his former tenants from 2018 while the property in Dudmaston was let to five tenants without a HMO licence.

‘This is a landmark case, the first banning order to be applied since it became part of law more than a year ago,’ said Councillor Richard Overton, Telford and Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement.

‘It shows how seriously we take the issue of rogue landlords. It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our officers that once his existing leases expire this, now former landlord, can no longer continue to operate until 2024,’ he added.
Housing Minister Esther McVey welcomed the ruling. ‘Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live, and I am determined to crack down on rogue landlords who consistently choose to neglect their responsibilities,’ she said.

‘I welcome the fact that councils like Telford and Wrekin are making use of the powers available to tackle these criminals, forcing them to either raise their standards or leave the sector entirely,’ she added.

The council understands that Beattie has applied for leave to appeal the tribunal’s decision.