Nicholas van Hoogstraten - My bullyboy days are over

Nicholas van Hoogstraten - My bullyboy days are over

Nicholas van Hoogstraten - My bullyboy days are over

First published in News Exclusive by , Senior Reporter

Notorious property tycoon Nicholas Hoogstraten insists his bullyboy days are over – but says there are still “plenty” of rogue landlords in Brighton and Hove.

From his base at the Courtlands Hotel in Hove the 67-year-old admitted he “may have been hard on people” in years gone by but said he had finally changed his ways.

Once heralded as Britain’s youngest millionaire, Mr Hoogstraten has never made any secret of his robust approach to keeping problem tenants in line.

In the 1960s he gained a sinister reputation and was accused of using strong-arm tactics against residents of slum properties, which he bought cheaply for redevelopment.

"Beelzebub"

During one of his many court cases, one judge even branded him a “self-styled emissary of Beelzebub”.

But after announcing his “bad old days” were over Mr Hoogstraten last night accused some private landlords in modern Brighton and Hove of taking advantage of their tenants.

He said: “The class of tenants we had in the 60s were terrible. Those days were something else.

“Back in my younger days perhaps it was true that I was hard on people. That was normal back then.

“But it’s not true now. I’m certainly not a rogue landlord any more. It’s pretty well known that I own vast areas but it’s all managed professionally now.

"I can’t remember the last time I had a problem with a residential tenant.

“However, there are landlords in this city who will do anything to get rid of a problem.”

Mr Hoogstraten claimed bullying landlords were usually private buy-to-let owners rather than “professionals”.

Landlords who worked through lettings agents had too much to lose to risk their reputation by “mucking around”, he argued.

Threats

But he said many private owners were bullying their tenants by threatening them with eviction.

He said: “Often it’s because they want to put the rent up or they want to move their relatives in.

“I even know personally of cases where a landlord has tried to get sexual favours out of tenants.

“Of course in a lot of cases there’s not much the tenant can do.”

Mr Hoogstraten blamed the rise of the rogue landlord on the number of owners renting out their properties.

He said: “In this day and age we have got far more landlords than we did in the 60s in the bad old days.

“Now everybody’s a landlord – taxi drivers, everyone. That means you’re bound to get a few more bad eggs.

“But now it’s a disaster area because in many cases they borrowed too much and some people might resort to bad practices to reclaim their lost money.”

Unfit homes

Brighton and Hove has the sixth largest private rented sector in the country but more than a third of homes in the city are poorly heated, badly maintained or out of date.

According to the most recent figures, 36,400 households are living in standards that fall below the level the Government deems “decent”.

However, demand for housing far outstrips the number of properties available and some tenants say their landlords threaten them with eviction if they complain.

Mary is a disabled pensioner who has lived in her tiny flat in Hove for 14 years.

Last week, after she complained about a leak, she was told by her landlord she had two months to pack her things and leave.

She said: “I have always been a good tenant but they know they can just put the rent up as much as they like and force me out.

“All I did was let them know when something was wrong. It’s terrible. They are completely bullying me and there’s nothing I can do.

Scared

“People are just too scared to say anything. If you complain you just get turfed out.”

Mary said it was the most vulnerable people in Brighton and Hove that bore the brunt of rogue landlords.

She said: “It will cost me more than £1,000 to move out and I can’t afford it.
“They just pull the carpet out from under the most vulnerable people but there’s nothing the authorities can do.

“The law is all in favour of the landlords. It’s ridiculous.”

Chris Norris, the head of policy at the National Landlords Association, said Brighton and Hove was a “particular problem area” for bully landlords.

He said many of the worst perpetrators in the city were often linked to organised crime.

Criminals

He said: “I don’t think it’s commonplace but we can’t ignore the fact that it does go on. Many landlords do force retaliatory evictions.

“The majority of landlords in Brighton operate professionally and in complete accordance with the law.

“But there are people masquerading as landlords who we would describe as criminals. It’s totally outside the law.”

Mr Norris said Brighton and Hove suffered because of the overwhelming demand for housing.

He said: “In other parts of the country if a tenant doesn’t like their landlord they can vote with their feet and move – but that often can’t happen here.”

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We recognise the enormous role of the private rented sector in providing accommodation throughout our city. The council believes it is important to reward good landlords, who consistently maintain high standards within the private rented sector.

"The council runs a landlord accreditation scheme so that the best private landlords can be recognised and rewarded, and to help others raise their standards of property maintenance and management.”

Comments (22)

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6:28pm Mon 3 Dec 12

NickBtn says...

The council licences shared houses for students and shared groups of working people. So people who tend to be most transient and find it easiest to "vote with their feet" are protected

There is no licencing for more vulnerable groups and those who find it harder to move such as families, OAPs etc. Why? This seems to be the wrong way round...
The council licences shared houses for students and shared groups of working people. So people who tend to be most transient and find it easiest to "vote with their feet" are protected There is no licencing for more vulnerable groups and those who find it harder to move such as families, OAPs etc. Why? This seems to be the wrong way round... NickBtn
  • Score: 0

6:57pm Mon 3 Dec 12

AmboGuy says...

His rouge days are behind him? Wonder if he's learnt compassion and warmth from his new mate Robert Mugabe?
His rouge days are behind him? Wonder if he's learnt compassion and warmth from his new mate Robert Mugabe? AmboGuy
  • Score: 4

6:59pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Brightonlad86 says...

NickBtn wrote:
The council licences shared houses for students and shared groups of working people. So people who tend to be most transient and find it easiest to "vote with their feet" are protected

There is no licencing for more vulnerable groups and those who find it harder to move such as families, OAPs etc. Why? This seems to be the wrong way round...
I live in a shared house and I can tell you these 'licences' are a joke!! I have reported several issues and, although these problems are usually sorted short term they will reoccur a month or so later.

There have been several times I have had no gas/electric for 2-3 days at a time as other tenants fail to pay their share of bills. In the contract it says that the landlord will pay if other tenants fail to but this never happens. The landlord also has a debt and deducts £10+ for each meter per week which tenants seem to subsidize!

The council seem to send emails/letters but never take any 'proper' action.
[quote][p][bold]NickBtn[/bold] wrote: The council licences shared houses for students and shared groups of working people. So people who tend to be most transient and find it easiest to "vote with their feet" are protected There is no licencing for more vulnerable groups and those who find it harder to move such as families, OAPs etc. Why? This seems to be the wrong way round...[/p][/quote]I live in a shared house and I can tell you these 'licences' are a joke!! I have reported several issues and, although these problems are usually sorted short term they will reoccur a month or so later. There have been several times I have had no gas/electric for 2-3 days at a time as other tenants fail to pay their share of bills. In the contract it says that the landlord will pay if other tenants fail to but this never happens. The landlord also has a debt and deducts £10+ for each meter per week which tenants seem to subsidize! The council seem to send emails/letters but never take any 'proper' action. Brightonlad86
  • Score: 0

7:16pm Mon 3 Dec 12

NickBtn says...

Brightonlad86 wrote:
NickBtn wrote:
The council licences shared houses for students and shared groups of working people. So people who tend to be most transient and find it easiest to "vote with their feet" are protected

There is no licencing for more vulnerable groups and those who find it harder to move such as families, OAPs etc. Why? This seems to be the wrong way round...
I live in a shared house and I can tell you these 'licences' are a joke!! I have reported several issues and, although these problems are usually sorted short term they will reoccur a month or so later.

There have been several times I have had no gas/electric for 2-3 days at a time as other tenants fail to pay their share of bills. In the contract it says that the landlord will pay if other tenants fail to but this never happens. The landlord also has a debt and deducts £10+ for each meter per week which tenants seem to subsidize!

The council seem to send emails/letters but never take any 'proper' action.
The council are charging £100-£200 per year for these licences which really are being paid for by you from your rent.

I'd challenge the council to help take some proper action to give a long-term solution as no gas/electric isn't acceptable. Sending emails is cheap - but they should be providing a better service for the price they're charging (£1m for licencing according to the Argus a few weeks ago)
[quote][p][bold]Brightonlad86[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]NickBtn[/bold] wrote: The council licences shared houses for students and shared groups of working people. So people who tend to be most transient and find it easiest to "vote with their feet" are protected There is no licencing for more vulnerable groups and those who find it harder to move such as families, OAPs etc. Why? This seems to be the wrong way round...[/p][/quote]I live in a shared house and I can tell you these 'licences' are a joke!! I have reported several issues and, although these problems are usually sorted short term they will reoccur a month or so later. There have been several times I have had no gas/electric for 2-3 days at a time as other tenants fail to pay their share of bills. In the contract it says that the landlord will pay if other tenants fail to but this never happens. The landlord also has a debt and deducts £10+ for each meter per week which tenants seem to subsidize! The council seem to send emails/letters but never take any 'proper' action.[/p][/quote]The council are charging £100-£200 per year for these licences which really are being paid for by you from your rent. I'd challenge the council to help take some proper action to give a long-term solution as no gas/electric isn't acceptable. Sending emails is cheap - but they should be providing a better service for the price they're charging (£1m for licencing according to the Argus a few weeks ago) NickBtn
  • Score: 0

7:20pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Juleyanne says...

Having turned from the 'dark side' would it not be amazing if Mr Hoogstraten could now use his extensive knowledge to actually push for better future legislation for tenants!
Having turned from the 'dark side' would it not be amazing if Mr Hoogstraten could now use his extensive knowledge to actually push for better future legislation for tenants! Juleyanne
  • Score: 1

7:24pm Mon 3 Dec 12

magoo says...

Hahaha! Who does this guy think he is fooling?ha
Hahaha! Who does this guy think he is fooling?ha magoo
  • Score: 0

7:28pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

Students are tied into a ten month contract so can't really walk out so once the landlord fills the slum property, they are stuck.
Some of the houses I've been in are an utter disgrace and I know the students have reported their issues but to no avail which is a shame as the ne system promised so much.
I have advised the students to withold rent and wait for the landlord to take them to court and then show films and photos and all the letters/emails chains asking for action.
Students are tied into a ten month contract so can't really walk out so once the landlord fills the slum property, they are stuck. Some of the houses I've been in are an utter disgrace and I know the students have reported their issues but to no avail which is a shame as the ne system promised so much. I have advised the students to withold rent and wait for the landlord to take them to court and then show films and photos and all the letters/emails chains asking for action. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

7:43pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Algeria Touchshriek says...

Perhaps he could donate some of his millions to an animal charity.

If he makes the fluffy ones happy this Christmas, I shall forgive him for his (alleged) crimes he has committed over the years.
Perhaps he could donate some of his millions to an animal charity. If he makes the fluffy ones happy this Christmas, I shall forgive him for his (alleged) crimes he has committed over the years. Algeria Touchshriek
  • Score: 0

8:07pm Mon 3 Dec 12

leobrighton says...

The bully landlord these days is the council. In their bid to multiculturalise this country they boot out people who have lived in their homes for decades as soon as a parent passes away
The bully landlord these days is the council. In their bid to multiculturalise this country they boot out people who have lived in their homes for decades as soon as a parent passes away leobrighton
  • Score: 0

8:17pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Man With No Name says...

leobrighton, have you been in many council houses? It think you will find that most of them are inhabited by people born in England, often with several other family members in the same street, often having lived there for several generations. Council Tenants have far more in the way of rights than any other type of tenant.
leobrighton, have you been in many council houses? It think you will find that most of them are inhabited by people born in England, often with several other family members in the same street, often having lived there for several generations. Council Tenants have far more in the way of rights than any other type of tenant. Man With No Name
  • Score: 0

8:47pm Mon 3 Dec 12

worthingite says...

Legend !
Legend ! worthingite
  • Score: -1

8:52pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Dave At Home says...

Two words... Leopard & spots...
Two words... Leopard & spots... Dave At Home
  • Score: 0

9:47pm Mon 3 Dec 12

sbiscorrupt says...

AmboGuy wrote:
His rouge days are behind him? Wonder if he's learnt compassion and warmth from his new mate Robert Mugabe?
"rouge days"?...

Somehow the idea of Hoogstraten in make-up with his mate brings on a chuckle...
[quote][p][bold]AmboGuy[/bold] wrote: His rouge days are behind him? Wonder if he's learnt compassion and warmth from his new mate Robert Mugabe?[/p][/quote]"rouge days"?... Somehow the idea of Hoogstraten in make-up with his mate brings on a chuckle... sbiscorrupt
  • Score: 0

9:56pm Mon 3 Dec 12

george smith says...

I suppose the one thing you could never call him is boring. Will the new Nick join the green party?
I suppose the one thing you could never call him is boring. Will the new Nick join the green party? george smith
  • Score: 0

10:47pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Hove Actually says...

Or join the ramblers on a nice walk across a PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY that some thug had barricaded?
Or join the ramblers on a nice walk across a PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY that some thug had barricaded? Hove Actually
  • Score: 0

11:52pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Steve Heenan says...

In the 1980's he moved a load of bikers into an apartment block in Portland road. He hoped they'd scare off the old grannies living there. WRONG ! They used to do the old dears shopping and walk their dogs. In return they'd make tea and sandwiches when guys were working on their bikes. Once 2 "heavies" of his came round with baseball bats to drive an old man out. We threw them off a first floor balcony.
In the 1980's he moved a load of bikers into an apartment block in Portland road. He hoped they'd scare off the old grannies living there. WRONG ! They used to do the old dears shopping and walk their dogs. In return they'd make tea and sandwiches when guys were working on their bikes. Once 2 "heavies" of his came round with baseball bats to drive an old man out. We threw them off a first floor balcony. Steve Heenan
  • Score: 0

1:07am Tue 4 Dec 12

Brighton_Lad says...

I was given two month's notice by my landlady at the start of this year. She had just returned to the country from abroad - she's a trustafarian - and despite the assured shorthold tenancy agreement (and the law) saying 24 hours' notice had to be given if she wanted to visit, decided not only to move in but as the bedrooms were all rented, to comandeer our lounge as her own personal living quarters.

What was my crime which warranted eviction? To ask her if we could work together to stop the two dogs she'd drugged and smuggled into the country to stop defecating and urinating all over the house's carpets and barking all night.

Brighton Housing Trust, when I met with them, told me there was nothing they could do (which begs the question: what exactly are they for??)

I was forced to find somewhere else, and luckily fell firmly on my feet and now live in the funkiest house in the North Laine with fantastic people and a wonderful landlady. A whopping six other tenants moved out of the old house of their own accord as they couldn't handle the dogs and their scabrous owner.

The latest from the last place is that the landlady has given 2 month's notice to a super old pensioner who's lived there for 5 years - for no other reason than telling another tenant to watch their back with her. The date he has to move out on? Christmas Day.
I was given two month's notice by my landlady at the start of this year. She had just returned to the country from abroad - she's a trustafarian - and despite the assured shorthold tenancy agreement (and the law) saying 24 hours' notice had to be given if she wanted to visit, decided not only to move in but as the bedrooms were all rented, to comandeer our lounge as her own personal living quarters. What was my crime which warranted eviction? To ask her if we could work together to stop the two dogs she'd drugged and smuggled into the country to stop defecating and urinating all over the house's carpets and barking all night. Brighton Housing Trust, when I met with them, told me there was nothing they could do (which begs the question: what exactly are they for??) I was forced to find somewhere else, and luckily fell firmly on my feet and now live in the funkiest house in the North Laine with fantastic people and a wonderful landlady. A whopping six other tenants moved out of the old house of their own accord as they couldn't handle the dogs and their scabrous owner. The latest from the last place is that the landlady has given 2 month's notice to a super old pensioner who's lived there for 5 years - for no other reason than telling another tenant to watch their back with her. The date he has to move out on? Christmas Day. Brighton_Lad
  • Score: 0

7:12am Tue 4 Dec 12

John Steed says...

the councils are happil turning a blind eye to shared accommodation due to the low levels of housing benefit for young people,how difficult is it to compare housing benefit addresses with the licenses issued? then of course there are the properties where only workers, often east european migrants are accomodated. there might not be cards in the windows but no kids, no pets, no dhss & no certain ethnics very much applies to day, ironically these days its the ethnic minorities which the law was brought out to protect that flout it the most
the councils are happil turning a blind eye to shared accommodation due to the low levels of housing benefit for young people,how difficult is it to compare housing benefit addresses with the licenses issued? then of course there are the properties where only workers, often east european migrants are accomodated. there might not be cards in the windows but no kids, no pets, no dhss & no certain ethnics very much applies to day, ironically these days its the ethnic minorities which the law was brought out to protect that flout it the most John Steed
  • Score: 0

8:03am Tue 4 Dec 12

B rian Tawses left foot says...

worthingite says...
8:47pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Legend !”

Absolutely! What a dull place Brighton would be without the always entertaining Mr H.
worthingite says... 8:47pm Mon 3 Dec 12 Legend !” Absolutely! What a dull place Brighton would be without the always entertaining Mr H. B rian Tawses left foot
  • Score: 0

11:29am Tue 4 Dec 12

Andy R says...

There will be a short memorial service for Satire this Friday......
There will be a short memorial service for Satire this Friday...... Andy R
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Tue 4 Dec 12

mustaphaLeeko says...

Hahaha! Leopards never change their spots.

I just saw a flying elephant, a banker giving his Xmas bonus to the poor, Starbucks making decent Coffee, and now Nicholas Van Hoogstraten (or should I say Nicholas Marcel Hoogstraten) turning over a new leaf!

Personally I don't believe in miracles! lol!
Hahaha! Leopards never change their spots. I just saw a flying elephant, a banker giving his Xmas bonus to the poor, Starbucks making decent Coffee, and now Nicholas Van Hoogstraten (or should I say Nicholas Marcel Hoogstraten) turning over a new leaf! Personally I don't believe in miracles! lol! mustaphaLeeko
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Tue 4 Dec 12

lorrie1 says...

He will NEVER change, hes always been an a*****e. you should of seen the flat a mate of mine used to rent from him!(discusting aint the word)
Thanks argus for giving his address as coutlands hotel hove. Know quite a few people that will wait with baseball bats around that area now! Its called Karma and about time He had some!!!
He will NEVER change, hes always been an a*****e. you should of seen the flat a mate of mine used to rent from him!(discusting aint the word) Thanks argus for giving his address as coutlands hotel hove. Know quite a few people that will wait with baseball bats around that area now! Its called Karma and about time He had some!!! lorrie1
  • Score: 1

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