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A Gateshead buy to let investment landlord has been fined over £60,000 for failing to manage his rental property effectively and not complying with an improvement notice.
Regev Hazan, who is actually based in London but owns 26 properties in Gateshead, had failed to obtain the required licence to operate as a private landlord in the area.
One Gateshead property owned by Hazan was identified by Northumbria Police as a cannabis farm operated by a former tenant.
The discovery led to further investigations that suggested the property was operating as a house of multiple occupation (HMO) and Hazan was advised by the council how to better manage the property and offered training which he declined.
When the property was inspected again it was found to have multiple occupants, some of which had no tenancy agreement. The Gateshead property was also found to have defective heating, a lack of internal doors and lighting, lack of safety catches to windows and an inadequate fire detection system.
Hazan claimed that he was unaware of who the tenants were and how many were living at the property.
The landlord was charged with two offences under The Housing Act and prosecuted at South Tyneside Magistrate’s Court where he was fined £30,000 for failing to comply with the Improvement Notice, and a further £30,000 for being in breach of his landlord licence for ineffective management of the Gateshead property.
He was also required to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.
Gateshead’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Malcolm Brain, said: ‘This was a huge fine, but the sentence was well-deserved. Whether Mr Hazan’s poor management of this property was intentional or it was simply as a result of his inadequacies as a property manager is irrelevant. What’s important is the fact he broke the law, repeatedly, and has been called to account.’