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Landlady fined £18k over unauthorised shared house

19 Oct 2020 A landlady has been landed with a court bill of more than £18,000 for continuing to rent out a student house after being denied planning permission. Shirley White, of Southgate, London, applied for planning permission to turn 41 Bevendean Crescent, Brighton, into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) in September 2017. Permission was refused because there were already more than the...

Are you running an HMO without realising it?

How many rooms do you have in your rental property? How many people are living there? Could you be at risk of being targeted by local government's current crackdown on unlicensed HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation)? HMOs can be a serious pitfall for landlords, with the potential to cost you large sums of money in penalties and litigation. A couple of recent news items have reminded us how...

Landlord ordered to pay £14,500 for unlicensed HMO

29 Jul 19 A buy-to-let landlord has been ordered to pay £14,500 for illegally renting out an overcrowded House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence in Evesham, Worcestershire. The landlord was issued with four civil penalty notices by Wychavon District Council after officers found 11 people occupying the property. It is the first time Wychavon, which did not name the landlord, has used...

HMO Landlord ordered to hand over 18 HMOs to Managing Agent & fined £30,000

26 Apr 2021 A landlord has been handed nearly £30,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to maintenance and safety failures at three properties. Landlord Naomi Knapp, of Bedminster in Bristol, agreed to pay £2,000 a month for at least the next year to meet the fines, costs and victim surcharges totalling £29,597.59, after admitting failing to meet required standards of management in three...

Bath pair fined £16k for holding wrong HMO licenses

Two landlords in Bath have been ordered to more than £16,000 for failing to hold the correct HMO licences. Elizabeth Vowles, 48, and Hayley Book, 55, from Weston pleaded guilty at Bath Magistrates’ Court to the offence under the Housing Act 2004. The court was informed that the pair were caught operating two HMOs in the Additional Licensing Area without a licence in January 2017, despite the...

Whopping fine should ‘serve as a warning to any other rogue landlords’

Whopping fine should ‘serve as a warning to any other rogue landlords’ A rogue landlord in Newmarket who exposed tenants to ‘significant risk’ has been ordered to pay almost £33,000 after being found guilty in court. Russell Wayne Price, 50, of Lisburn Road, Newmarket, was found guilty of 15 charges following prosecution by Forest Heath District Council. Some 13 charges, which related to two...

Firm fined £18,000 for allowing Bristol knotweed ‘forest’ to grow so high it could be seen from space

The invasive plant was allowed to spread for 10 years and was blocking light from neighbouring homes. Bristol City Council prosecuted the landlord MB Estate Limited on behalf of seven residents using anti-social behaviour laws. It is thought to be the first prosecution of its type. Amie King moved into a £400,000 property in Ash Road, in the trendy Horfield area of the city, in 2007 and soon...

Advice for Accidental Landlords

30 Apr 2020 By Des Taylor, Casework Director with Landlord Licensing and Defence Landlords… If your property is being managed by your brother’s sister’s cousin’s sister-in-law, or your best-est friends’ brother-in-law then you face a 90% probability of massive problems in the form of: Unpaid rentRepairs not doneCouncil inspectionsCouncil enforcement action Prosecution Massive Civil...

Fines for Fire Safety breaches Will Become Unlimited says Home Office

25 Mar 2021 Building owners who breach fire safety regulations under the Fire Safety Order will be subject to unlimited fines, the Home Office has announced. The measures come as part of the government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation and will be included in the Building Safety Bill legislation currently working its way through parliament. The fines will also be issued to anyone...

Leeds landlord has been fined for renting out this mouldy, unsafe house

2 May 2019 A woman living in this dangerously maintained house in Chapeltown has been awarded compensation after her landlord was taken to court. Andrew Watson, of Harehills Avenue in Chapeltown, was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay victim compensation of £1,000 after he repeatedly ignored legal notices served by Leeds City Council regarding the condition of a house he was renting out on Hill Top...

HMO landlord fined

Three landlords have been fined a total of £24,170 including costs, for failing to have a licence for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). Chiabass Lawrence, who has been managing HMOs across London since 2003, pleaded guilty at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on 19th June for failing to acquire a license for an HMO without reasonable excuse. Mr Lawrence and his property management companies, OGAS...

Rent Repayment Order £8,975 against Landlord who failed to have Selective Licence

March 2016, Case summary by Phil Turtle Landlord Licensing and Defence By ignoring Selective Licensing, this landlord lost £13,000 and gained a criminal record. Local Authority, the London Borough of Newham (LA), applied for and won a Rent Repayment Order against Ms P. relating to a property in Malvern Road, East Ham, London E6. The Local Authority has introduced a Selective Licensing scheme...

Mandatory Professional Qualification to be a Landlord says Commission

05 May 2020 A commission investigating affordable homes in the UK has called for annual private sector rent increases to be limited to a new index of income growth and for landlords to pay tenants’ removal costs in some circumstances. The Affordable Housing Commission also recommends that “charging more than the permitted rent increase would be an offence, with the landlord facing a fine...

Letting agent fined £11,500 for an illegal eviction

29 Oct 2021 A lettings agency has been prosecuted by Birmingham council for unlawfully evicting a tenant. Principal Homes is based at Great Barr and was found guilty under Section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 of unlawfully evicting Natalia Szergejev from her tenancy in Erdington in June 2019. Principal Homes was fined £10,000 and a victim surcharge of £170, ordered to pay...

Landlord fined £25,000 over lack of hot water for disabled tenant

Judith Wilson, who owns 300 houses in Kent, ignored council enforcement notices. The wife of Britain’s most controversial buy-to-let landlord, Fergus Wilson, has been ordered to pay £25,000 in fines and legal costs after a court ruled that she had failed to supply hot water to a disabled tenant. The court found that Judith Wilson, who revealed she has more than 300 houses in her name in the...

Brighton landlord prosecuted for unlicensed HMO

Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning enforcement team has prosecuted a landlord for letting a Brighton home as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) without a licence, in the first successful prosecution by the council regarding an unauthorised conversion of a house into a small HMO. James Trevor Ford of Maidstone Road, Horsmonden in Kent had made no attempt to secure permission for the...

New figures reveal thousands of tenants are at risk of death in their properties

New figures reveal thousands of tenants are at risk of death in their properties Shocking stats emerged after two men died in a four-bedroom Edgware home They were living with at least five others in the ramshackle unlicensed property Nearly three quarters of a million people are living in dirty or unsafe homes and thousands of lives are at risk because of rogue landlords, new figures reveal....

Mould in Northwich flat leaves landlord with £2,500 fine

A LANDLORD has been fined almost £2,500 after a Northwich flat tenant complained of excessive mould and a front door they could not close. Nicholas Ian Shaw, 47 and from Norbury's Yard, Knutsford, was convicted at Chester Magistrates Court on Thursday, August 9, after failing to comply with an improvement notice. Mr Shaw had rented out a Victorian terrace flat in Huxley Street to a young family...

Rent-to-renter fined £20,000 for illegally sub-letting HMO

04 Oct 2019 In an unusual and possibly unique case Brent council in London has prosecuted a tenant who sub-let property without agent's knowledge. A tenant in London has been fined £16,000 for sub-letting a house illegally as an HMO in a move that many in the industry will welcome as councils have begun to bear down heavily on agents and landlords who break the rules. The tenant, who has been...

Landlords Beware: Accidental Landlord Punished More for Harmless Error Than Criminals Are Punished For Assaulting Police Officers!

27 May 2019 Sometimes the law seems grotesque, says ex-deputy chief constable – Tom Wood. A friend who made an honest mistake as a new landlord received a greater punishment that a criminal who assaulted a police officer, writes Tom Wood. I was reminded of the famous verse from The Crocodile Song when I attended a recent sitting of the First Tier Housing and Property Tribunal for Scotland. In a...

Landlord ordered to pay more than £20k

A buy-to-let landlord has been convicted of nine counts of breaching regulations for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) that he owned in Colchester and ordered to pay in excess of £20,000. Poor heating and mould in the four-bedroom property were among the issues flagged up by the disgruntled tenant as he issued a complaint to Colchester Council in December 2015. Thomas supplied portable...

Speed cameras being used by Councils to create revenue new report – just like property licensing & Landlord Fines

16 Jul 2020 In a report by the Inspectorate of Police and Fire Services they accuse Safety Camera Partnerships (dominated by local authorities) of being cynical and putting cameras to generate revenue and not to save lives. What landlords need to know is that this is exactly what Local Authorities are doing in the housing sector with Licensing and...

Landlord handed two-year ban and £41k bill for putting tenants’ lives at risk

A man who rented out rooms above a town centre bar has been banned from being a landlord after putting the lives of his tenants at risk. Dean Dunkley, 41, of Dunchurch Road in Rugby, has also been ordered to pay more than £41,000 in legal costs by the magistrates after he was found guilty of a number of offences. The prosecution was brought by Rugby Borough Council after several inspections of...

Landlord’s excuse for operating Unlicensed HMO not a ‘Reasonable Excuse’ finds Appeal to Upper Tribunal

05 Jan 2021 Thurrock Council has won an appeal from a decision of the First-tier Tribunal to cancel a civil penalty imposed for the offence of managing or being in control of a house in multiple occupation that is required by the Housing Act 2004 to be licensed, when it was not so licensed. The FTT reached that conclusion because it found that the respondent had the defence of reasonable excuse....

Rogue landlord fined £7,000 for not having an HMO licence

A landlord who failed to apply for an HMO licence despite being interviewed on the subject under caution has now been fined £7,000. Frank Scanlon appeared before Worthing magistrates accused of breaching the Housing Act 2004 (Section 72 (1)) after failing to licence his property correctly to ensure the safety of its occupants. When Scanlon’s property was inspected by Worthing council officers,...

Harrow rogue landlord’s nightmare flat left tenants at ‘imminent risk of death’

2 May 2019 The building was cold, filthy, structurally unsound and a firetrap with gaps on the stairs and no washbasin. A Harrow landlord rented out such a disgusting home that his nine tenants were at "imminent risk of death". The problems at the Harrow home began with a dangerous bed bug infestation, but conditions were revealed to be so bad, that even after an £11,000 fine in the courts,...

Just Move Estates fined £10k for failing to install smoke alarms in rented house in Leyton

Just Move Estates in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, had claimed that tenants removed three smoke alarms from the house on Melford Road, Leyton, but upon inspection, council officers found no evidence they were ever installed. They were fined by Waltham Forest Council, using powers from the Housing & Planning Act. The council issued a civil penalty against Just Move Estates, which the company...

Ombudsman names Southwark, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth, Westminster, Haringey and Camden councils as the worst landlords in the country for leaseholders and shared ownership

05 Oct 2020 The Housing Ombudsman has issued a report containing almost 40 recommendations for dealing with complaints from leaseholders and shared owners. The report, which can be viewed here, also identified the 12 landlords – six housing associations and six councils – with the highest number of maladministration findings (including partial maladministration and severe...

Ex-professional footballer scores own goal as landlord of unlicensed properties

21 Oct 2019 Once again the Council prosecutes purely for lack of licences. There is no mention in the following story of the landlord providing substandard accommodation. Decent (but unlicensed) landlords beware and contact Landlord Licensing and Defence if you are in this situation before this happens to you. A landlord has been fined over £25,000 after admitting 12 licensing offences. Former...

Council with Most Prosecutions of Agents and Landlords is Named

Camden has been revealed as the local authority with the highest number of prosecutions of agents and landlords in London. According to the Mayor of London’s rogue landlord and agent checker, launched last December to assist Londoners in securing affordable homes with the knowledge that their agent or landlord has not committed previous offences, Camden has prosecuted on 59 occasions and put 35...

Landlord in hot water after ignoring council abatement notice

28 Jun 2021 A tenant was put at risk from a ceiling that partially collapsed and was left unable to use her shower after her landlords failed to adequately repair a leak. Sunita and Surinder Paul have each been fined £500 for breaching a Wolverhampton council abatement notice ordering them to complete the repairs on the property in Bilston.  In March 2020, the tenant reported water leaking...

Now Council Licensing are doing Dawn Raids just like the Drug Squad

22 Jan 2020 An investigation was launched this morning into the safety of residents in 10 rented properties operating without landlord licences. Officers from Slough Borough Council knocked on the doors of the 10 properties simultaneously at 5am to examine the living conditions in the houses on Alexandra Road, Chalvey. All the terraced homes are owned by the same people who have not obtained a...

Council Demolishes illegally occupied outbuilding. Issues £16,000 fine

25 Jun 2020 A property built without planning consent and then illegally let to a family has been knocked down by Ealing council in West London - and the owner has been sent the bill for the demolition job. Rapinder Kaur Sehajpal has been sent an invoice for £16,000 after ignoring requests to demolish it himself.  The council says the 45 square metre outbuilding had been built without...

Nowhere for HMO landlords to hide as Councils turn to Artificial Intelligence

21 Jul 2021 How long does it take for your Council to work out you’re running an unlicensed HMO? Less than one day! This was confirmed for us this week when a worried landlord got in touch with our landlords defence consultancy team. Here’s the situation: Landlord completes on an HMO purchase on the 30th June.  On the 1st July one of the London Borough Councils sends the new owner a letter...

Countrywide chain Beresford Adams and landlord together fined £30,000 over HMO

23 Sep 2019 Wrexham council discovers that HMO is unlicensed and that conditions at the property include inadequate fire safety provision. A landlord and her letting agent, 28-branch Countrywide chain Beresford Adams, must pay a total of £32,300 in fines, costs and victim surcharge after an HMO visited by inspectors in Wrexham found it to be unlicensed. Landlord Jane Sabio, who had pleaded...

Yet another landlord gets £14,000 fine for not having HMO licence

17 Dec 2020 A landlord has been fined £10,000 by her local council for failing to licence a HMO. Tracey Davies of Bath was found guilty in her absence when the case came before magistrates in the city. The local authority - which says it was “acting on information received that the property was likely to be operating as an illegal HMO” - was inspected back in February of last year.  The...

Landlords advised to watch out as Councils accused of not issuing enough Rent Repayment Orders

March 29, 2019 Councils in England have been accused of failing to use powers to tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector. A response to a parliamentary question this week on the use of rent repayment orders (RROs) revealed that just three have been issued by local authorities to claw back Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit paid through rent in the 18 months to...

Rogue Hayes landlord has 3 months to pay £430k or face jail after illegal HMO

29 Nov 2019 Gurdeep Kaur crammed 15 tenants into a small three-bed home. A landlord from Hayes who pocketed more than £400,000 after illegally turning her home into a home of multiple occupation (HMO) must pay the money back or face jail. Gurdeep Kaur turned a small semi-detached three-bed family home in First Avenue into a house of multiple occupancy without permission from the council. The...

‘Landlord in Crisis’ Cases This Week

23 Jun 2020 The last two weeks has been hectic and often people see what we publish and ask what exactly do we do? Well here are some of the things we have covered in the last two weeks, no day is ever boring and it is a long read and these cases are all landlords just like you: Breaking the Law If you drive at 90mph you will eventually get caught. If you break the law of the Housing Act 2004 or...

How every Surrey council deals with complaints about about rogue landlords

Just two councils in Surrey fined or prosecuted landlords for issues such as poor living conditions Councils in Surrey received more than 600 complaints from tenants in a year, but there have been just four rogue landlords prosecuted. Owning a home is becoming less affordable. In 2001, 9% of homes in Surrey were private rented, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In 2011, the...

Reading Borough Council fine landlord £66k for failing to meet fire safety requirements

13 Jan 2021 A LANDLORD has been slapped with a £66,000 fine over 'serious' safety breaches including plug sockets next to the shower, and repairs that risked residents being trapped in a fire. In a record attempt by Reading Borough Council (RBC) to clamp down on landlords of HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation) failing to reach required standards, it is hoped that last month's prosecution will...

Top Solicitor accidentally affirms Landlord Licensing & Defence

14 January 2020 "Mandatory Electrical Test (EICR) before you can let any property will be Law very soon." (removed) Update 22nd September 2021: Today Giles Peaker has demanded that his once useful article be removed from our news website. There are plenty of other articles that tell you all about EICRs as this has now been law for ages and it is now an old topic. Peaker later published this in...

Co-operative HMO Landlord has fine reduced to £2,000 as Birmingham starts Civil Penalty Regime

30 Aug 2019 A landlord has been hit with a £2,000 penalty for fire safety breaches at a two-storey property housing nine people in a landmark case for Birmingham City Council. Officers visited the house in multiple occupation (HMO) in Small Heath in November and found there to be no interlinked fire alarm, fire doors or fire blanket, and a lack of fire separation in the building. The council...

Fine for landlord admitting failings

A property management company has been landed with a legal bill of almost £2,000 after admitting that it failed to keep a property in Nottingham in good repair. Nottingham City Council`s Housing Licensing and Compliance team secured a successful prosecution against ADKAM CIC (Community Interest Company) resulting in a fine of £1000 with costs of £836 and a £100 victim surcharge at Nottingham...

Coventry Landlord £180,000 Proceeds of Crime fine is just deserts

04 Aug 2020 Arrogant Maria Protheroe was paid income support payments after claiming she had no income – despite renting out a portfolio of properties the length of the country. The scheming property owner also lied to obtain mortgages to buy yet more houses – and then claimed to live in two of the properties to avoid Capital Gains Tax when she sold them. Despite her dishonest dealings making...

Landlord fined £87,000 for putting tenants in ‘serious danger’

11 Mar 2020 A private landlord has been prosecuted by Bristol City Council for providing private rented accommodation that posed a “serious risk to life”.  Nine people were found living in cramped conditions in a small flat rented out by rogue landlord Deepak Singh Sachdeva on Avonmouth Road in Bristol, BS11, with two children forced to sleep in cupboards. Bristol City Council said the...

£10k fine and Criminal Behaviour Order for illegal eviction by Agent

30 Apr 2021 A lettings agency director has been issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order for unlawfully evicting a tenant back in 2019. CFDP Ltd, trading as Belvoir Nuneaton and Hinckley, along with its director Clayton Foston, have been taken to court by Hinckley & Bosworth council for removing the possessions and changing the locks of a tenant’s flat while the tenant was unwell and...

London landlord gets eye-watering £450,000 fine

Beds in Sheds: Samina Nadeem, of Malborough Road, Southall who had refused to demolish her “beds in sheds” after repeated warnings from the council, now faces a record fine of nearly £450,000 or 4 years in prison. An Ealing councillor described Nadeem as “obstructive and aggressive” and housing her tenants in “Dickensian” conditions. Nadeem had had repeated warnings from the council but still...

Landlord hit with £180,000 penalty: how to avoid a buy-to-let fine

Birmingham court hands down record-breaking buy-to-let penalty A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay more than £180,000 in fines after tenants were left living in unsafe and unacceptable conditions at four properties. Leila Amjadi, the head of Vertu Capital Ltd, was found guilty of 35 offences relating to fire safety violations and poor maintenance, and was handed a record-breaking fine by a...

Landlord who refused to pay for legal assistance gets stung for £28,000 in Rent Repayment Orders

19 Oct 2020 A Landlord who told our firm that he’d rather go out alone than pay £450 in fees for legal assistance has ended up with the inevitable DIY result of a massive Rent Repayment Order for £28,000. "Landlords who think they have the skills that they can handle their own case in the Property Tribunal are for the most part deluded and heading for disaster”, said Phil Turtle compliance...

99% of architects don’t understand the HMO Amenity Standards. And in our experience, 90% of landlords don’t either.

Also, whilst 100% of architects know the Building Regulations –90% don’t understand that Building Regulations standards – being the absolute minimum standard – are not adequate for HMOs. A higher standard must be applied and 90% don’t know what this higher standard is.

Wrong First Time. 
Why do we say this?
Because time after time, when our inspectors visit new HMO conversions or HMO refurbs, in order to do pre-licensing compliance audits, we find that we have to tell landlords that they’ve done many things wrong.
 And then we have to drop the bombshell that they must do costly and time-consuming rectifications to make their shiny new but non-compliant acceptable for HMO property licensing.  
Frequently, we find: 
  • Wrong or inadequate fire alarm system
  • Non-compliant fire doors 
  • Inadequate fire escape routes
  • Inadequate fire compartmentation
  • Provide extra bathrooms (or accept fewer occupants) 
  • Fit additional kitchens and cookers (or accept fewer occupants) 

And all of these are because either the landlord specified all the works themselves, or just let their architects do it all, and neither of them were sufficiently expert in the HMO Management Regulations, HHSRS, Fire design and that particular council’s HMO Amenity Standards. 

Right First Time
To get your HMO right first time, you need good HMO advice right from the start on fire design, HMO Amenity Standards and all 29 hazards of the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System. As well as the HMO Management Regulations. To make sure your HMO really is right first time.

Multi-disciplinary experts from Landlord Licensing & Defence who are landlords, fire risk assessors, HHSRS practitioners or environmental health officers, will provide you with comprehensive HMO services and ensure you get it right first time.

Without all the extra costs and delays of not taking professional advice before the works are done.

HMO Advice and HMO Design Services include:

  • Review of original and proposed design sketches against HMO and licensing standards
  • Site visit and advice during first-fix
  • Specification of HMO requirements over and above Building Regulations
    • Fire doors
    • Alarm system and location
    • Amenities
    • Safety requirements
  • Practical advice on tenants:
    • Living experience
    • Furnishing for longevity
    • Materials to use and avoid
  • HMO Management Regulation Requirements
  • Council Amenity Standards
  • Occupancy levels achievable within the Council Amenity Standards
  • Better building layouts
  • Housing Act 2004 and HHSRS, the Housing Health and Safety Rating System as applied to HMOs

Want to get it right first time and save remedial costs and time slips?

Whether you need HMO advice in London or anywhere in England and Wales, your team of qualified and experienced experts at Landlord Licensing & Defence, stand ready to assist with your HMO compliance, design, execution and licensing.

Get in touch by Confidential Call: 0208 088 0788 now. Or fill in our contact form below.

Contact the HMO Advice and HMO Design Experts NOW. 
Phone 0208 088 0788 or fill this form

 

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