Fit and Proper Landlord

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    suzanne elliott

    we have a case where the LA is prosecuting the LL over several properties where he has failed to comply with repair and safety orders one case has already been heard and LL found guilty. This LL is requesting direct payment on many of his tenancies stating rent arrears, although one of the cases we have paid the LL direct for some on the period he states he received no money! Can I make the decision that he is not a fit and proper LL and contiue to pay tenants direct. We are also aware that the LL can be shall we say ‘persuasive’ with his tenants in getting them to state they have rent arrears when there are none.

    anyone have any suggestions?

    Chris Robbins

    The issues you describe are not really relevant to the ‘fit and proper’ test for HB. What you need to show is that this landlord indulges in activities such as:
    – falsifying benefit claims
    – failing on a regular basis to notify you of relevant changes of which he is aware
    – failing to repay HB O/P’s where liability has not been disputed
    – providing false information/documentation regarding liability, date of occupation, etc.
    You don’t really say whether you hold such evidence. If you do, the landlord must be notified of any decision that you intend to treat him as not fit and proper, and given teh right of appeal against that decision.
    Should you get that far it is also worth remembering that it does not mean you cannot pay directly to that landlord in all cases. It then becomes a discretionary matter for the LA under HBR 96, as there may be instances with vulnerable tenants where direct payments are in their best interests.

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