Housing company on Isle of Dogs fined for evading tenants 'redress' scheme
PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 June 2019
A property management company on the Isle of Dogs has been fined £3,000 by a judge for failing to join a Tower Hamlets scheme giving right of redress to tenants and leaseholders.
Legal action was taken against G Crawford Management of Westferry Road by Tower Hamlets Council.
The company was found to be in breach of legal requirements over the running of Millwall's Lockesfield Place housing estate.
"This decision sends a clear message to other companies considering flouting the rules," mayor John Biggs said after the Upper Tribunal hearing. "We are working proactively to make sure property managers fulfil their duties."
The council set up a Private Renters' charter two years ago following a running campaign by tenants facing crippling lettings fees, hyped rents and illegal evictions given at a moment's notice.
The charter supports both tenants and 'good landlords' by setting out standards protecting rights of renters and property owners alike.
The mayor added: "It's important that there is a means of redress where these standards are not met."
Property managers are required by law to sign up to a 'redress scheme' giving all parties a way of resolving disputes or challenging poor service without lengthy and costly court proceedings.
But G Crawford Management refused to register, despite warnings from Tower Hamlets trading standards, the tribunal heard.
Judge Howard Levenson ruled that the refusal meant the company, which has Gillian Crawford listed at Companies House as its sole director, was in breach of the regulations governing lettings agencies and property management companies.
Deputy Mayor for housing Sirajul Islam said: "Redress schemes are in place to ensure fairness for tenants, leaseholders and landlords. We are glad the spirit of this regulation was upheld."
The council continues campaigning for tenancy rights in the private sector with renters winning a victory in April from the government announcing plans to outlaw summary evictions without reason.
A home "is a right and not something to be traded", the town hall insists, especially for families and those forever being squeezed out of the East End.
But some 'bad landlords' were evicting on a whim—often for merely complaining about dangerous living conditions. Now they would have to provide "concrete evidenced reason specified in law" for bringing tenancies to an abrupt end, which effectively creates open-ended tenancies.