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


Council that threatened landlords is guilty of “severe maladministration”

A London council that just days ago threatened private landlords with unlimited fines and “have control of their properties removed” has been accused of severe maladministration.

The Housing Ombudsman - who presides over social housing - has slammed Newham’s Labour controlled council over its handling of a damp and mould case, which took over three years to resolve. 

Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman, says: There were significant failings throughout this case which left the resident living with damp and mould for an unreasonable amount of time.


“On multiple occasions throughout the course of the complaint, a lack of proactive action and poor communication, both with the resident and internally, contributed to significant delays.

“Despite repeated issues with communications from its repairs team, the landlord [Newham council] did not change its approach and take ownership of the resolution of the issues. Whilst there were severe delays to the repairs, the landlord also took too long to arrange temporary accommodation and to respond to the resident about his damaged belongings.

“I welcome the landlord’s response to the lessons from this report and its extensive efforts to put in place a stronger and more proactive approach to addressing damp and mould.”

The irony is that very recently Newham council sent a threatening reminder to private landlords in the form of a press statement saying they had only days to abide by a new licensing scheme.

If they did not apply for a mandatory Selective Licence by the end of this month they were told they would “risk an unlimited fine or having control of properties taken away.”

Newham’s latest Selective Licensing scheme started on June 1 and the council now says it will be stepping up its inspection and enforcement visits throughout September “to find and take action against unlicensed properties.”

Council that threatened landlords is guilty of “severe maladministration”Newham’s last private licensing scheme, which expired at the end of February 2023, saw 42,000 properties licensed – of which 70 per cent were subject to officer visits or audits.

From 2018 until July 2023, more than 2,620 breach of licence investigations were conducted and 387 financial penalty final notices were issued, with fines between £5k,000 and £30,000.

A total of 6,447 enforcement letters were sent.

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

    Don’t expect anything to improve when the occupants that cause it in the main are up on a pedestal.
    Don’t lift a finger to deal with it just contact the Council to complain about the damage they caused and the owner gets a big fine, how does that help ?.

    John  Adams

    The owner being Newham Council...


    An ex council tenant I once took on privately, sent me a message in the early hours saying his shower trap was blocked and wanting me to fix it there and then! I responded first thing by telling him how to clean the trap, but then he demanded my plumber! I pointed out that I wasn't responsible for cleaning the traps, he is but I could send a plumber but he would be responsible for paying...plus emergency rates at unsociable times if he wished.The next message he declined the plumber and did it himself!!

  • icon

    I sold my flat in Newham when I moved, rather than let it out under this corrupt incompetent council. My reason for leaving Newham was actually due to my dislike of the way they operate.

  • icon

    Whoops 😬 kettle… black… calling 📞 me thinks 😂

  • Peter Lewis

    So Newham Council want to police private Landlords by sending inspectors to over 70% of the properties that are licensed, fair enough.
    But what percentage of Newham Councils own properties get a visit from the Councils inspection teams? Very few I suspect.
    There needs to be a level playing field. With local Councils up and down the Country failing to to maintain their own properties to a decent standard. Where do they get off Policing and fining the private sector ? I’m all for receiving advice and maintaining decent standards in the private sector but the same rules should be applied to the social housing sector, with inspections, and punitive fines imposed on housing associations and Council’s that don’t comply with their own set of rules or time frame’s.


    Fines imposed on Councils and Housing Associations are paid by the taxpayer.

    Individual managers and others who fail to do the jobs they are paid for should be fined personally, demoted or fired.

    Things have gone downhill since we stopped corporal punishment in schools.

    In Scotland parents break the law now if they physically chastise their children even in private!

    When I ran my business I had a customer complain that one of my guys missed a major problem previously reported. I told him to go straight back out there but he wouldn't be getting paid for his second visit. We parted company soon after but he did become more careful after his carelessness hit his own pocket

  • icon

    I read recently that one of the London Boroughs didn’t have smoke alarms in 9000 of their properties and 4300 didn’t have co2 detectors! If that was a private landlord they'd be in the nick!

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Going through this now, scruffy fkrs removed the smoke alarms (left wires hanging from the ceilings). They then claim they was never there?!?! Council then amongst other things accuse me of neglecting the property... Just waiting for the court date!


    Criminal damage is a criminal offence, unsurprisingly. You should report the damage to the police.


    A private prosecution is a possibility if the police won't act.

    However, there are costs associated with a private prosecution and in the worst case scenario you could be required to pay the defendants' costs.

    In terms of your own legal representation for the private prosecution, you could try contacting Advocate for free legal help/representation from a barrister.

  • icon

    Norfolk Police aren't interested Ellie, here's a crime number now claim on your insurance is what we get


    The crime number could be helpful though for Peter as he appears to be being penalised for the damage caused by his tenants. He needs to have on some official record what has happened

  • icon

    Yes agreed that could have helped him in court


    I believe Peter hasn't been to court yet - he is waiting for the court date. He will be able to explain his situation much better than I can.

  • Yonnette  Roberts

    Message a bit misleading I was given the impression that it was a private landlord. It’s not and Since the people responsible for private sector can’t take action on council’s own properties. So take that up with the legal system. We do the best we can and I would like some of you to meet to bad landlords. Council properties are not the same as private properties. As much as I agree that some tenants get away with a lot


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up