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Case law: Landlord convicted after turning a blind eye to tenant’s criminal activity on its premises

Landlords should monitor activities on their premises and if they suspect or know illegal activity is taking place, take steps to stop it – particularly if notified of it by their local authority – otherwise they could face a criminal conviction.

March 2019

This update was published in Legal Alert - March 2019

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

Despite being prosecuted by local Trading Standards for selling large amounts of illicit tobacco after many property raids over six years, a shop tenant continued its illegal activity.

Trading Standards had told the landlord that the tenant was acting illegally, sending correspondence containing detailed advice and information about the tenant’s activity, and the consequences of failing to take action in respect of it over a number of years. However, the landlord took no action to stop the tenant.

Eventually, the local authority prosecuted the landlord in what is the first such prosecution in England. The Crown Court said that he must have known or suspected that his property was being used for illegal activity by his tenants because he had been repeatedly told it was, therefore his failure to take action to stop them was a criminal offence.

He received an eight-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work. Steps are also being taken to confiscate some or all of the rent paid to him over the last six years.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Landlords should ensure they monitor activities at their premises and if they suspect or know illegal activity is taking place they must take steps to stop it – particularly if notified of it by their local authority - as ignoring it may result in a criminal conviction.

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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