A charity that receives thousands of pounds in housing benefit to accommodate vulnerable people has been named the most prosecuted landlord in England and Wales.
The Guardian announced the revelation following an investigation.
Bristol-based Alternative Housing, which last year hit the headlines when a man lay dead for weeks in “squalid” conditions in a home provided through the company, was named the most prosecuted landlord in England and Wales, having been convicted of housing offences six times over the past two years.
The charity had let properties with problems, including overflowing raw sewage. It is tasked with accommodating vulnerable individuals, including those with addiction issues.
Alternative Housing, which is registered with the Charity Commission, was fined a total of almost £40,000. Over the same period, it received £321,000 in housing benefit.
The newspaper named Ghulam Muhammad as the only remaining registered director and trustee of Alternative Housing, and the joint most prosecuted landlord.
The Guardian compiled a list of the worst landlords after making Freedom of Information requests to councils in England and Wales.
Alternative Housing is one of 61 landlords that have been convicted of multiple housing offences over the last two years, and yet they are still able to let homes to tenants.
Bristol City Council’s Housing Cabinet Member, Paul Smith, described Alternative Housing as a “bogus charity” that had done “appalling things” to vulnerable people.
He added: “There is nothing charitable about what they were doing. They were using charitable status as a cover for commercial activity.
“In Bristol, a large percentage of the private rented sector is looking for young professionals. Those landlords that do take people on benefits have a huge captive market.”
He warns: “What we might have once called slum landlords are able to come in and mop people up on benefits because there is not enough affordable homes.”
We encourage all landlords to stick to the law and provide safe, secure homes for their tenants. Our comprehensive guides detail all of your obligations as a landlord: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/guidelines/