Monthly Archives: November 2014

Brent fines Willesden rogue landlord

Poor quality and crowded accommodation is our number 1 problem in Willesden. As well as moving towards wider landlord administration as part of Labour’s plans, Brent Council is already taking action to tackle abuse, and has fined one rogue landlord over half a million pounds.

Mr Hussam Hussain, who lives in Canada, illegally rented out 9 separate flats at 219 Church Road in Willesden, a property that only has planning permission for use as a single flat and some retail.

For 5 years, he illegally rented out the flats taking approximately £514,314.30 in rental payments in that time. He completely ignored planning enforcement notices served to him by Brent Council to cease using the premises in this way.

Mr Hussain was sentenced for this illegal activity on 10 June 2013 but he lodged an appeal against the sentence, stating that it was manifestly excessive because it was the maximum amount of fine that could have been imposed and made no allowances for any mitigation such as his previous good character and the fact that he provided decent accommodation for his tenants.

In his sentencing remarks the trial judge found that the appellant had neglected his duties as a landlord by failing to comply with the enforcement notices which are to protect the rights and enjoyment of others living in that area.

The Crown Court dismissed Mr Hussain’s appeal on 18 November 2014.

Cllr McLennan, Lead Member for Regeneration and Housing said “Rogue landlords are absolutely not welcome in Brent. This landlord ignored planning rules designed to ensure that residents and neighbours are protected and I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has upheld the original judge’s decision that he should payback all the rent received.

“It’s because of despicable cases like this that we have introduced new Additional and Selective landlord licensing schemes. From 1 January 2015 it will be a legal requirement for all privately rented properties in Brent occupied by three or more people and making up two or more households, to have a property licence. It will also be a legal requirement for all privately rented properties in the wards of Harlesden, Wembley Central and Willesden Green to have a property licences.”

To find out more about landlord licensing go to http://www.brent.gov.uk/PRSlicensing

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A&E closures – Brent demands answers

Hospitals bosses will face serious questions from Brent councillors about ‘life and death’ issues at a scrutiny meeting next week after the opening of the new A&E at Northwick Park was delayed for a third time in as many months.

The repeated delays to the opening of the expanded A&E at Northwick Park has led to Brent residents facing the longest waiting times for emergency surgery in the UK. Only around 75 per cent of patients were seen within four hours, according to the latest figures, which is significantly below the 95 per cent NHS target.

The opening of the new £21million casualty unit at the hospital in Watford Road, Sudbury, had originally been pencilled in for October but this was delayed until mid November.

Health chiefs have now pushed back the opening for a third time prompting fears that the already dire performance at the hospital, which has been criticised by England’s health watchdog, may get even worse if there is an increase in admissions caused by cold weather.

In September the council called for the closure of the Central Middlesex A&E to be delayed until reassurances were received about the quality of care at Northwick Park Hospital. However, despite the fact that England’s health watchdog the CQC judged Northwick Park’s overall performance to ‘require improvement’ and that its critical care service was deemed ‘inadequate’ health bosses ignored the council’s plea.

Councillors will now be demanding urgent answers about why the Northwick A&E has still not opened. North West London Healthcare Trust (NWLHT) bosses will also be under pressure to explain why the promised improvements to local GP facilities, which was supposed to prevent unnecessary A&E visits, have not been delivered either.

Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “Our worst fears about the effects of closing local A&Es before the expansion of Northwick Park was ready have come true.

“Our residents now face some of the longest A&E waiting times in the country and immediate action needs to be taken to resolve this as we are talking about life and death emergency treatment. Further delays to the A&E improvements at Northwick Park will only make the problem worse. We will be demanding answers from NHS bosses at our next scrutiny committee.

“Our residents deserve the best healthcare and we need to understand why the reconfiguration of local health services has been botched so badly and get answers about how the Trust plans to improve the care they offer urgently.”

How Brent’s Labour Council is putting the living wage first

Businesses in north-west London could be the first in the country to be offered business rates discounts as an incentive to pay the ‘living wage’ in a move being considered by Brent Council.

Some of the capital’s lowest-paid workers, in the borough which is home to the national stadium, could get pay rises of around £2.50 an hour after the council signalled its intention to offer firms in the borough up to £5,000 off their business rates – if they become living wage accredited employers. Continue reading