Rogue Bristol landlord who owned 34 properties receives ban and hefty fine

A Bristol landlord has been banned from letting properties due to the poor conditions her tenants were living in. The case taken by Bristol City Council’s Private Housing Team found the rogue landlord was repeatedly failing to meet required health and safety standards.

Naomi Knapp, who has a large portfolio of 34 properties in Bristol, entered guilty pleas to multiple offences and was convicted of eight Banning Order offences. She will be added to the Governments database for Rogue Landlords.

On Tuesday, August 9, Ms Knapp was handed the ban by the First Tier Property Tribunal after she made guilty pleas in relation to fire safety issues and the poor conditions in the communal areas of the properties. This included missing or inadequately installed fire doors, damaged and poorly maintained walls and ceilings that form part of the fire-resistant structure, and fixtures and fittings in the communal areas of the properties that were also damaged and badly maintained.

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The council has previously worked informally with Ms Knapp but was forced to proceed to formal enforcement action when attempts to resolve issues failed. In April 2021, Bristol Magistrates Court heard that she was neglecting her responsibilities at three poorly managed HMOs.

Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes, said: “During this cost of living crisis it is more important than ever for the council to protect tenants from rogue landlords. We will take action to crack down on criminal landlords who do not meet the legal requirements for a safe and secure living environment.

“Any tenant who rents from Ms Knapp does not need to do anything at this point – the Banning Order does not change a renter’s legal rights and does not necessarily mean they will need to leave their properties. However, if they are concerned about their rights they should contact the council or Citizen’s Advice Bureau for support.”

The legislation to remove rogue landlords from the private rented sector is to prevent them from exploiting tenants in the future, the Tribunal stated. Ms Knapp was handed a total fine of £22,000 and a five-year ban from letting to highlight Ms Knapp’s lack of understanding of the legal requirements.

Mr Knapp’s ban bans took effect on Tuesday (August 16) and will last for a period of five years. The council has said there are some exceptions to this ban for up to six months, until February 15, 2023. She is also banned from being involved in any corporate body that carries out any of the above activities.

She may not act as an officer of such a corporate body or directly or indirectly take part in, or be concerned in, its management. This case means Bristol has now successfully applied to ban three landlords.

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