A notorious landlord has been banned from managing her own rental properties, and must instead use an agent. Furthermore, she has been ordered to pay the agent – who must be a member of an authorised redress scheme – sufficiently.
Katia Goremsandu could also face jail after an extensive investigation by the local authority led to a landmark prosecution.
Goremsandu was handed a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) after breaching an improvement notice – described by Westminster City Council as the latest offence by the property owner.
The court ruling is the first in London and only the second nationally, and follows a long-running investigation by Westminster City Council’s Residential Services, Community Safety and Legal Services teams, with the support of Haringey Council.
The CBO will last ten years and, if breached, could lead to a custodial sentence.
In addition, Goremsandu was fined £3,500, along with a £120 victim surcharge, and was ordered to pay £7,645 costs.
Goremsandu topped the Ministry of Justice’s record of landlords prosecuted for providing poor quality or unlicensed homes in 2015.
She was prosecuted by Westminster City Council after failing to comply with an improvement notice to repair one of her properties, and received a further prosecution for obstructing the council with its investigation.
Cllr Antonia Cox, cabinet member for public protection and licensing, said: “The council is determined to protect its residents from rogue landlords who blight the lives of their tenants.
“The fact that this is the first Criminal Behaviour Order in London is testament to the hard work of Westminster City Council officers who have worked tirelessly to build a successful case against Ms Goremsandu.
“The CBO means that the likelihood of Ms Goremsandu being able to reoffend is now significantly reduced. This outcome sends a clear message to all landlords that they have a responsibility to their tenants and bad practice will not be tolerated in Westminster.”
The order prohibits Katia Goremsandu from managing any rental accommodation in Westminster and Harringey; and must not own a company or hold office in any company which offers for rent or manages rented accommodation in those boroughs.
She must give access to each property for inspection purposes within 48 hours.
She must appoint a professional agent registered with an authorised redress scheme to act as the managing agent for all aspects of the tenants’ contract.
She must also provide sufficient funds to the agent to ensure that all rental properties under her ownership meet the required level of compliance with the Housing Act 2004 prior to being made available for rent. She will have to give details of the agent she has appointed to the relevant local authority within seven days.
The first Criminal Behaviour Order was handed down to a landlord in Wolverhampton last April: http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/article/8804/Council-wins-landmark-court-case-against-rogue-landlord
If you fancy being Katia Goremsandu’s appointed agent, you might like to know that she has a long history of run-ins with councils as a result of malpractice. In 2015, she topped a list of the worst landlords in Britain, after multiple prosecutions by Haringey Council: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jul/23/north-london-landlord-list-housing-offence-convictions-fines
More information can be found here: http://www.ehn-online.com/news/article.aspx?id=14485