By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Gove slams council that boasts of clampdowns on private landlords

Michael Gove has written to 10 social housing providers - housing associations and councils - slamming them after findings of severe maladministration.

The findings were made by the Housing Ombudsman - the redress service now restricted to social housing, but tipped to be the official redress service when private landlords are forced into a similar system. 

One of the 10 is the Labour controlled Newham council in London.


This council is outspoken in its criticism of private landlords and routinely issues statements on its enforcement against private landlords.

For example earlier this year Newham claimed that between 2018 and July 2023, more than 2,620 breach of landlord licences were investigated and 387 financial penalty final notices were issued, with fines between £5,000 and £30,000. A total of 6,447 enforcement letters were sent.

However, Housing Secretary Michael Gove has now turned the tables on Newham, following it having been found guilty of severe maladministration.

Gove’s letter says: 

I write following a finding of severe maladministration by the Housing Ombudsman for your failure to respond adequately to your resident’s damp and mould issue for over three years. In this case, the resident had no communication from you when they first complained about the damp and mould.

You did not update him on how you were going to resolve this issue or inform him of next steps.

When you did eventually respond and visited his property to fix an ongoing leak, you failed to resolve the damp and mould itself. 

Your resident had to ask you multiple times for updates, and he was forced to move into temporary accommodation two years later due to the strong smell of damp throughout his home.

This is unacceptable. 

The tragic death of Awaab Ishak has shown that we must not be complacent about issues that have the potential to damage residents’ health. 

You failed to provide the level of service your residents should expect to receive. When your residents report an issue, it should be acted upon swiftly and effectively. Social housing residents must be able to put their trust in their landlords to provide a decent home and deal with complaints swiftly and effectively. 

The Social Housing Regulation Act is bringing in a tough new regulatory regime to support this Government’s commitment to driving up standards and holding landlords accountable for providing social housingresidents with decent homes.

I expect the actions you are taking to improve the service you deliver to your residents. 

I will be taking a personal interest in how your organisation delivers its responsibilities. My officials will be in touch to arrange for you to meet with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing to discuss your failings.

I am copying this letter to Stephen Timms MP, Lyn Carol Brown MP, Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, Councillor Danny Keeling, the Select Committee for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the Housing Ombudsman.


Want to comment on this story? Our focus is on providing a platform for you to share your insights and views and we welcome contributions.
If any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.
Please help us by reporting comments you consider to be unduly offensive so we can review and take action if necessary. Thank you.

  • icon

    Smacked wrists all round.
    Will they take notice? No.
    Will they blame funding cuts? Yes.
    Will they still attack private landlords? Yes.
    Is there a point to Michael Gove? The jury is still out,

    Richard LeFrak

    What the Fkr should have done is apply the same principals to the council that the council applies to private landlords. I think 10% of the total raised from landlords should be fair.

    Also an investigation into the failings and reported back within a month including the names of people who have official warning letters and made to work a five day week..!

  • icon

    Plenty wrong with this letter never mention the Parents responsibility or if negligent failing in their duty to look after a Child. I see the pots steaming away in the photos, no attempt by the adult to wash it down the mould but it was reported in media when it got bad used another room. Its one thing to be sympathetic on the loss of a
    Child which is devastating in itself but don’t go denying the background that led to this disastrous misfortunate event, it doesn’t exonerate the adults involved. The other thing is using the word Landlord loosely it didn’t make clear that it wasn’t a private landlord but very quick to do so on other occasions when it suits the narrative and who should know better than Hon Michael Gove Housing Secretary who is the main driver of Homelessness and Architect of the Rogue so call RENTERS REFORM BILL that has damaged Renter’s & Landlords alike.
    I am not falling for this old carrot divide & conquer Tenants are appreciated and my friends too not them and us think on Mr M Gove.

  • Nic Gone

    It seems to me that the PRS is almost unique in political terms, in that is is so useful as a target for financial squeeze, for political pontification, for activist rhetoric - but social housing, even that controlled by tenant-trumpeting Labour, perpetuates some conditions far worse than most PRS. Yet Gove promotes more social housing as a goal and is focussed decimating PRS….Its like they are all gleefully sawing off the branch they are sitting on.

    Richard LeFrak

    It is ok to promote social housing Nic but who is going to run it if it is expanded? This shower cannot run what they have now.

  • Franklin I

    The criticism of Newham Council's maladministration by Housing Secretary Michael Gove over damp and mould complaints, particularly in light of the Awaab Ishak case, has raised concerns among LLs, especially in the context of the proposed Renter's Reform Bill.

    This is a classic example of potential double standards, where an innocent LL may be unjustly held accountable and liable due to the negligence of a council, such as Newham. This discrepancy underscores the presence of inequitable treatment and a lack of consistency in regulatory enforcement, potentially leading to unwarranted repercussions for responsible LLs.

    Gove's promise of a tough regulatory regime to ensure quality housing underscores the need for accountability. The tragic resident death further emphasises the urgency of addressing housing issues that can harm residents' health. The situation highlights the importance of a balanced approach that upholds fairness and transparency in regulatory actions while ensuring high housing standards.

    Newham Council should face significant penalties for this violation, just as any individual landlord would be held accountable under the law.


    I have this fear. The councils will all be excited with all of the new enforcement powers they have, but they will just carry on as they are providing worse homes than PRS. Meanswhile landords can't get rid of their bad tenants and continue to receive one fine after another.

  • icon

    Why shouldn't rouge landlords answer for it. Councils should and do procucute. I'm fed with let's blame the tenants because of these rouges. There always whining about it.


    SBR is off again with her determination to use rouge instead of rogue and, in her haste to attack landlords, ignores that the guilty landlords are housing associations etc, NOT private landlords. Own goal there, SBR. 🤣


    In this case it was clearly the tenant at fault, why have they not been prosicuited for child neglect

    Richard LeFrak

    Sandy B, It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...!

    Come on over and lets have a festive hug!! Maybe a cheeky peck under the mistletoe?

    I have bought you a thesaurus and a dictionary for Christmas!!

    And it's Prosecute BTW


    People like S B-R are blind. Blindly attacking landlords, but as usual glossing over councils and HA's who they think are fine.


    Annoyed, It appears she claim Personal Independence Payments (PIP). Therefore she may not be a landlord's first choice of tenant. Coupled with being on benefits and potentially 'needy' it could all add up. Add in a bad attitude and someone who just gets by in life financially I am sure she's become increasingly unhappy with the rental situation. So she wants more rights, more, more and more. Probably not paying for any of it though.

    I don't think she's the type to learn either.


    Yes Nick a scrounger in it for the free ride on the backs of others


    Andrew, I couldn't have put it better myself! I just felt I needed to dance around a lot trying to hint at your sort of words! I'm sure she know all her rights, how to complain to the council, Shelter hotline is on speedial Nr 1. Constant excuses for paying rent late and needing work doing 'because i'm disabled'. I think her and James Turner need to be first on the 'rouge' tenant database!

  • icon

    Sandra Bowes Rennox.....?????????????


    Has anyone realised that she doesn't read and refer to comments made back on here.


    Yes. She seems to be only on here at the beginning of the day. Never comes back. Never learns.


    Sad bitter person just loves sticking the knife in, got nothing in life


    She has so much negativity and hatred for private landlords, she must be a damaged soul. She never explains why she is so negative and if only she would learn the difference between rogue and rouge as well as their and they're/there.

  • icon

    Theres lazy Fs are all unaccoutable. There is no shame in incompetence in the public sector. Other than not taking enough sickies in the year. Nothing changes.

  • icon

  • icon

    I think Newham council should have been fined. In the same way they would have fined a private LL.

    John  Adams

    I agree the various individuals should have received the same fines etc as a Landlord would including possible jail time.


    Well it's not the incompetent people at the council who's money it is. It just goes on the bill and back out to the council tax payers, parking fines, and a bigger begging bowl back to the government.... We need to fine the individuals personally to make a difference.

  • icon

    @ Nick, as reported about the new BBC chairman. "At the BBC he rose to become head of political journalism until in 1998 he quit for the private sector. He told MPs that at the BBC he became good at spending money; when he ran his own company he learned 'how to earn it'."


    @ Annoyed Landlord and to quote Thatcher “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up