Luxury yacht owner exposed as rogue landlord

Miss Conduct

The owner and tenant of a luxury yacht moored in Bristol’s harbourside has been branded a rogue landlord by the city council.

Thomas Flight, who lives on Miss Conduct, was the centre of a lengthy investigation by the local authority.

It has emerged he created false identities and fake letting agencies as part of an elaborate web of misinformation designed to exploit his tenants.

He since been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay the council’s £25,000 of costs at a court hearing.

Flight, a landlord of flats on Portland Square in Bristol, pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to committing consumer protection offences against his tenants.

After several hearings, an agreement was reached between Flight and Bristol City Council for him to plead guilty to four of the six charges against him.

From June 2019 until January 2021, numerous complaints were received by Bristol City Council about a property management business operating from 21 Portland Square in Bristol.

The business went by a number of different trading names, meaning no one ever really knew who they were dealing with or who was responsible when problems arose.

An investigation by the Bristol City Council’s Private Housing Team uncovered evidence of multiple consumer protection offences.

In order to establish who was behind the operation, the team’s Trading Standards officer traced payments back to Flight, who had used various companies and trading names to receive rent, fees and deposits.

Flight’s identity was hidden from his tenants, allowing him to keep security deposit money instead of returning it, and to avoid responsibility for a number of unfair commercial practices including charging banned and hidden fees to tenants.

Tenants would receive made-up landlord and letting agent information, including false names and addresses.

Flight even went so far as to have a fictitious person registered as a director of one of his companies.

Tenants who complained were then harassed with demands to withdraw their valid enquiries, until the local authority took up these complaints as part of their investigation.

In February 2021, Flight was interviewed by Bristol City Council in relation to alleged criminal offences.

Following the interview Flight voluntarily repaid those tenants who had been charged banned fees or whose security deposits had not been returned to them when they should have been.

During this interview he failed to cooperate with Bristol City Council, blaming the situation on an alleged letting agent who couldn’t be traced and is believed to be another of his inventions.

At one of Flight’s Court hearings in relation to this case, he supplied further documents to Bristol City Council containing more landlord details that also proved to be false.

Councillor Tom Renhard, cabinet member for Housing Delivery and Homes, said: “We are committed to protecting people across the city from rogue landlords, especially during the national cost-of-living and housing crises.

“Mr Flight took advantage of tenants and that is simply not acceptable. We will continue to do all we can to pursue unscrupulous landlords where evidence of criminal exploitation is found.”



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