Rogue landlords – the latest scandal

A Liverpool tower block that had more housing prosecutions in 2017 than any other building was 80% owned by international investors, some of whom were banking publicly funded rents while subjecting tenants to potential danger from hazardously low temperatures.

Mill View tower, a 16-storey former council-owned high rise in Toxteth, attracted 13 prosecutions last year for Elite Property Management and Lettings Ltd, a local firm that was managing 13 of the flats. The flats had cost around £60,000 each in 2013 and were all rented to residents claiming housing benefit. The company was prosecuted for licensing offences.

The discovery of the building’s story – described as “shocking” by two local MPs – has prompted calls for some landlords to have their properties seized and housing benefit rental payments withheld.

When environmental health officers inspected the block in April 2016, 11 out of the 13 flats that were later the focus of the prosecutions were owned by overseas investors – based as far away as Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Malaysia.

In total, about 80% of the block was owned by international investors, with only 12 of the tower’s 64 flats UK-owned, when the inspectors called. …

[A pictorial breakdown of non-UK owners follows]

“The worst thing about it is that while the money is being ploughed in, it is not in any way productive. Investors’ money is not being used to build more affordable homes, it is just being used to buy existing assets. It just increases the competition for homes and increases the cost of homes, with the people of the UK ending up with more expensive houses and no increase in the supply of houses.”