Category Archives: Enforcement

London landlord who part-owned racehourses fined £200,000 for tax evasion

Rogue landlord convicted of tax evasion

A rogue landlord has received a two year suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay a £200,000 fine for tax evasion and failing to declare he was a company director.

Michael Charles Waddingham had been a director of property development firm Chantry Estates, owned 17 properties and had income of more than £100,000 per year from various directorships.

Waddingham pleaded guilty tax fraud at Kingston Crown Court on 17 January this year admitting he had failed to submit Self Assessment tax returns between 2008 and 2012.

During that time he had failed to declare his rental income and that he was the director of seven land and property development companies.  In addition to his property portfolio he was also the part owner of several racehorses and the director of a betting syndicate which is also a registered UK company.

Following his arrest in 2015, Waddingham’s accountants cooperated with a HMRC forensic accounting team to calculate that £281,000 was owed in Income and Capital Gains Tax.

Waddington paid the unpaid tax to HMRC prior to sentencing at Kingston Crown Court this month. He now has six months to pay the additional £200,000 fine in order to avoid the suspended prison sentence being realized.

Waddington was also given 200 hours of community service and a six-month curfew between 8pm and 5am, enforced with an electronic tag.

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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Nine out of Ten Private Renters In London Have Experienced Serious Problems While Renting

for_saleNine out of 10 of London’s private renters have experienced at least four serious problems during their tenancy, including electrical faults, incomplete repairs and lost deposits. The survey commissioned by the Green Party London Assembly Member Sian Berry, asked 1,530 Londoners about their experiences, with nearly 70% of respondents writing in to share their stories. 

The results corroborate previous reports conducted by the Housing Charity Shelter which in 2014 found 61% of renters had experienced damp, mould, a leaking roof or window, electrical hazards, animal infestation or a gas leak in the previous twelve months.

Private renters often tolerate poor conditions due to the fear of retaliatory (also known as revenge) eviction. Many renters for example fear possible rent increases if they move or do not wish to provide their landlord with a justification for increasing the rent. In high-demand areas, landlords are able to evict tenants without reason and with just two months’ notice.

The recent law banning of revenge evictions  for tenancies starting after 1st October 2015 was hoped to give renters additional protection from eviction. However, many tenants are unaware of their rights. Moreover, the current revenge eviction legislation heavily depends on the tenant to negotiate with their landlord about disrepair before informing the council.

Very often cases are not investigated by local authorities due to lack of council funds and resources.  A recent study conducted by London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon found that the ratio of environmental health inspections to number of private rented sector homes was as high as one in ten in Greenwich, but only one in 689 in Lewisham.

Figures gathered by Radio 1 Newsbeat through Freedom of Information requests show that more than half of local councils across England haven’t used their powers to investigate revenge evictions.

The magnitude of the problems facing the private rented sector were further corroborated by the Living Home Standard report produced by the housing charity Shelter. The report which asked 1,691 adults about their homes, assessed the affordability, neighbourhood, stability and living conditions of private renters.

It concluded affordability to be the biggest issue, saying people should “thrive” in homes, not just “get by”. It also found 24% of people were unable to save after paying their rent or mortgage each month. A further 23% would struggle if their rent or mortgage costs rose. 18% said they had to regularly cut back on food or heating to meet escalating housing costs, with 20% having to sacrifice social activities to meet the bills.

The Renters Alliance helps renters with bad landlords and letting agents. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact the National Renters Alliance through our website or email us at contact@nralliance.co.uk

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Less than 3% of Housing Disrepair Complaints Enforced

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The lack of resources available to local authorities to deal with housing disrepair in the private letting sector was exposed yesterday in the House of Lords.

According to the Liberal Democrat Baroness Bakewell, housing complaints totaled 62,818 in 2012-13 which resulted in only 31,634 inspections by local authorities.  Astoundingly, only 1,645 improvement notices were served over the same period. The most common categories of hazards and faults identified in inspections were: damp and mould, excess cold, crowding and space, falling hazards and fire. The powerlessness of many renters is exacerbated by out-of-date legislation whereby  tenants can take action themselves only if their rent is less than £80 a year in London and £52 a year elsewhere.

These findings come as 11 million people now live in private rented accommodation in England, a figure which has almost doubled in the last decade and is set for further increases.

The Baroness claims that Parliamentary research indicated that  30% of private rented properties in England would fail the Government’s decent homes standard. This is almost double the 15% in the social rented sector. Also, despite having the lowest average property standards, the private rental sector is the most expensive housing option.  Private renters now spend an average of 47% of their income on rent compared with 23% of the income of people with a mortgage and 32% of the income for those in the social rented sector.

The Baroness’ comments were made during a committee reading of the Housing and Planning Bill which would establish a database of rogue landlords and letting agents and strengthen the enforcement of pre-existing legislation in the private rental sector among other measures.

 

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MP Reports only 27% of Poor Housing Reports Investigated by Authorities

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Karen Buck, the Member of Parliament for Westminster North has announced that only 14,000 of a total of 51,316 complaints made to councils about poor housing were subjected to a local authority environmental health assessment in 2014.  Ms Buck, has also claimed that on average councils prosecuted only one rogue landlord each year.

The figures were presented in a debate about standards in the Private Rented Sector on February 6th during which Ms Buck asked  whether the statistics provided irrefutable evident that local authorities lack the resources to investigate cases of housing disrepair.

On being asked what measured the Government proposes to adopt to tackle rogue landlords, the Government’s Minister for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis, claimed that enabling councils to issue civil penalties amounting to up to £30,000 and remedy payment orders for up to 12 months proposed under the Housing and Planning Bill would give councils extra resources to improve housing conditions.

Also participating in the debate was the Labour Member for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiqm who claimed that many of his constituents who rent privately have reported being the victim of revenge evictions despite the banning of retaliatory eviction in 2015.

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