Violet Musoke, a landlord based in Liverpool, has been handed a three month prison sentence for failing to acknowledge improvement notices and unlawful eviction for a flat she let. Described as a selfish, heartless and cruel landlord, Musoke attempted to force Dennis Adderley, 79, her long-term tenant, from his home. The disabled tenant, who was being treated for cancer at the time, required specialist equipment, and was left living in a barely habitable, unsafe home by his landlord.
The flat, located in Picton Road, Wavertree, Liverpool, also had a garden that was overrun with piles of rubbish and rats, while the interior was cold, damp and riddled with hazardous electrics and missing fire safety measures. Musoke was sentenced for declining to respond adequately to improvement notices from the council, in addition to a long harassment campaign against her tenant. She also tried to unlawfully evict Dennis Adderley, who has rented the property for 34 years under a protected tenancy.
Regulated or protected tenancies are an older form of tenancy agreement, which were common before shorthold tenancies. They provided tenants with lifelong security of tenancy. The Housing Act of 1988 introduced shorthold tenancies, but the Act did not repeal older tenancies, many of which are still in existence today. According to reports, Musoke’s campaign of harassment culminated in a stand-off with members of her family duping their way into the property and refusing to leave the tenant’s home.
The situation was first brought to the council’s attention by the fire service, and once council officers inspected the property, they found a range of safety and health problems including:
– Missing floorboards from a second floor bedroom and landing
– Inappropriate and inadequate alarm and fire detection system and emergency lighting
– A key operated mortise at the front door, which could prevent a rapid and safe exit in the event of a fire
– An electrical system deemed unsafe due to missing electricity consumer unit and no way to reset tripped fuses
– A missing handrail from the rear garden steps
– Ineffective insulation in the loft
– UPVC window frames allowing water penetration, with vegetation and damp growing on internal walls, and missing handles
– Cooker placed next to a door, which increases risk of burns and scalds
– Bare timber floor in kitchen, which could not be cleaned easily
– Rear door with no suitable mortise lock
Despite repeated warnings, Musoke solved only one of the issues, and Mr Adderley continued to live in squalor. She was sentenced to three months in jail and ordered to pay £500 in compensation to Mr Adderley.
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