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HMO landlord loses landmark appeal against ban and £22,000 fine

first tier property tribunal banning order Bristol|

A rogue landlord has lost a landmark case after she failed to convince an Upper Tribunal to overturn her banning order.

Naomi Knapp, 62, who owns 29 properties in Bristol of which 18 required licencing, was convicted of eight banning order offences relating to poorly managed HMOs last August and was added to the government's rogue landlord database. One of the orders related to a property on St John's Lane (main picture).

Following a case brought by Bristol Council's private housing team Knapp, who has been a landlord for almost three decades, admitted the offences and was fined £22,000 in April 2021 along with £7,000 costs.

A First Tier Property Tribunal made the decision to ban Knapp after it heard about missing or inadequately installed fire doors and damaged and poorly maintained walls and ceilings. Fixtures and fittings in the communal areas of the properties were also damaged and badly maintained, and many properties featured rubbish-strewn gardens.

But Knapp was then granted permission to appeal on six grounds, but each appeal was dismissed in the landmark case; the first time the Upper Tribunal has heard an appeal against a banning order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.


Judges ruled that the original tribunal had correctly assessed the seriousness of the offences and had also correctly concluded that banning orders were capable of applying to existing tenancies, rather than applying only to the initial act of granting a tenancy.

Her failure to follow up on her proposals to improve issues demonstrated her unwillingness to change matters for the better and her acceptance of the risk that her management of the properties might be below the required standard.

It said: "The Tribunal is satisfied that the Respondent has flouted her legal obligations in respect of the management of her property portfolio and has rented out accommodation which was substandard, and that the Respondent has failed to
follow up on her agreements with the Council to improve the management and conditions of her properties."

Important case

Councillor Tom Renhard (pictured), cabinet member for housing delivery and homes, says it's an important case for Bristol Council, and the first of its kind in the country.  

'We are working hard to make sure that people living in private rented accommodation have adequate protections and decent living standards,' he adds.

'We will take action to crack down on criminal landlords who do not meet the legal requirements for a safe and secure living environment.'

Main picture: Google Streetview


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