A man deemed not to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) has become the first in England to be banned from being a landlord.
A tribunal heard that David Beattie attempted to mislead his tenants of their legal rights and security of tenure by issuing them with a licence instead of an assured shorthold tenancy.
The licences stated to tenants that they could be evicted in 48 hours or less.
Beattie has been ordered to pay back housing benefit paid to him by Telford & Wrekin Council for two of his former tenants.
The council applied for a banning order and rent repayment order against Beattie, of Finchale Avenue, Priorslee, who a tribunal was told has previous convictions.
The tribunal was told that Beattie, knowing he would be refused a HMO licence if he were to apply for it, continued to run a seven-bedroom house in Dudmaston, Hollinswood, and advertise rooms to let in it.
Inspections carried out by Telford & Wrekin Council officers in 2018 found evidence of five people living there.
The order means that Beattie cannot let out a house, be involved in letting or property management, over the next five years.
But the tenants living at his seven properties will be permitted to remain until the end of their tenancies.
Beattie has also been ordered to pay back to Telford & Wrekin Council £1,924.65 in housing benefit for two of his former tenants from 2018 while the property in Dudmaston was let to five tenants without a HMO licence.
Cllr Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for enforcement, commented: “This is a landmark case; the first banning order to be applied since it became part of law more than a year ago.
“It shows how seriously we take the issue of rogue landlords.
"It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our officers that once his existing leases expire this, now former landlord, can no longer continue to operate until 2024.”
Housing minister Esther McVey added: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live, and I am determined to crack down on rogue landlords who consistently choose to neglect their responsibilities.
“I welcome the fact that councils like Telford & Wrekin are making use of the powers available to tackle these criminals, forcing them to either raise their standards or leave the sector entirely.”