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A landmark case for Thurrock Council has led to a criminal landlord being forced to repay over £1,000 in received rent.
Landlord Tobe Ayandare had forced his tenant to live in awful conditions in the rental property. He was fined for his failure to comply with an improvement notice under the Housing Act 2004 in March. However, he has now been ordered to repay the rent that had been paid to him for the property.
Upon inspection, officers at Thurrock Council found that ten different health and safety hazards affecting the property. These included rotten and insecure window frames and doors as well as an untested leaking boiler. The South Ockendon property also had a rodent infestation. With all the factors combined it is clear that the property was not safe for human habitation and was not appropriate to be let out.
Following Ayandare’s prosecution in March, Thurrock Council decided to recover the housing benefit payments that were paid to the landlord during the ten-week period through which he had failed to comply with the improvement notice. A rent repayment order application was made to the Eastern Residential Property First Tier Tribunal under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. £1,071.12 was successfully awarded.
Portfolio holder for Housing at Thurrock Council, Councilllor Barry Johnson, spoke out about the case, saying: ‘We believe everyone should have a good quality place to live and will not tolerate landlords exploiting their tenants by taking rent, or taxpayers’ money in the form of housing benefit, while forcing them to live in unacceptable conditions. This is a landmark case for the council. I am delighted that not only have we been able to prosecute and ensure the necessary improvement works are carried out at the landlord’s expense, but also to recover rent for the very first time.’