Housing Act 2004 Section 249A and Schedule 13A  Financial Penalties

Airbnb host fined £100,000 for letting council flat

30 Jul 2019 An Airbnb host who rented out his central London council flat to tourists has been fined £100,000 and evicted. Council tenant Toby Harman, 37, created the fake identity "Lara" on Airbnb to rent out his studio apartment. The flat, in Victoria, had been advertised since 2013 and received more than 300 reviews, Westminster City Council said. Anti-fraud software had found Harman's first...

Landlord fined £177,000 for putting tenants at risk

A neglectful landlord, who allowed his tenants to occupy a property without working smoke alarms, a lack of sufficient fire doors and an external escape route that was in a poor state of repair, even after repeated warnings from the local council, has been fined £177,000 for serious breaches of fire safety regulations. Philip Anthony Brotherton, the owner of Cresctcourt Properties Ltd, accepted...

£22,000 landlord fine for inadequate fire precautions and poor maintenance

15 Feb 2021 Two landlords who let an unlicensed London HMO property without providing proper washing facilities or tackling serious fire hazards have been taken to court. The pair were fined over £22,000 after letting out a property in Hackney without proper safety and hygiene standards, or applying for a council licence. Magistrates heard that joint owners Ella Louise Hill and Tyrone...

Conviction of rogue landlord upheld

01 Jul 2021 The conviction of a rogue Dudley landlord who failed to rectify safety hazards in a property he let has been upheld. In November 2019 Latif Rehman, of Bank Street, Brierley Hill was fined a total of £151,070 by Wolverhampton Magistrates Court for three breaches of an Emergency Prohibition Order served in relation to a house of multiple occupation in Cole Street, Netherton. Rehman...

Huge fine for HMO owner after refusal of planning consent

09 Dec 2020 A long-running case about a house divided up and let out without planning permission has resulted in a fine of nearly £10,000 for the owner. Brighton & Hove council investigated the property back in July 2018. The owner, Shirley White, had divided up the house and was letting it out before she discovered she needed planning permission to convert the property to a house of...

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...

‘Landlord in Crisis’ Cases Last 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 is the first half covering just 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: Landlords and COVID-19 Covid-19 has meant much more enforcement action against landlords...

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...

Fatal fire in unlicensed house leads to £15k fine and entry on rogues database

20 Jan 2020 A judge has ordered two landlords to pay a total of £14,858 for illegally renting out an unlicensed house without working smoke alarms to tenants whose teenage son died after it caught fire. Firefighters attended the scene in Thornton Heath, south London, last March but 13-year-old Kuzi Matope went on to die in hospital in April. The cause of Kuzi’s death has yet to be determined at...

Fine of up to £30,000 for failing to comply as Slough introduces 3 person HMO and Selective Licensing

06 Jun 2019 Slough Borough Council approved the implementation of two discretionary licensing schemes for residential property in Slough. Therefore from 1 July 2019 there will be three property licensing schemes in operation in Slough: Additional licensing for all HMOs (not covered by mandatory scheme, i.e. smaller HMOs)Selective licensing of all privately rented property covering most of...

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...

Tenants suffer fire, but council only interested in prosecution for lack of HMO licence

23 Apr 2021 Following a rental property fire in a house in Hendon, all the council appeared to be interested in was that it had discovered an unlicensed HMO and proceeded to prosecute the landlord  “for failing to licence the HMO”. According to the council’s press release:  Barnet Council discovered the property was an unlicenced House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) after being called to the...

£66,000 fine for landlord letting out HMO with safety failings

15 Jan 2021 A landlord has been hit with what a local authority calls a record £66,000 fine after being found guilty of letting an HMO that was dangerous to tenants. Reading council prosecuted Mohammed Naseer Zamir, following its housing team’s findings at the property in the town between October 2019 and February 2020.  Zamir claimed the property consisted of two self-contained flats,...

Landlord get £13,850 in fines for no HMO licence

19 Jan 2021 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...

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...

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...

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...

Landlord fined £90,000 for faultless properties

06 Feb 2020 A landlord has been ordered to pay just over £90,000 for repeatedly ignoring selective licensing laws in Brent, north London. Said Phil Turtle a director of Landlord Licensing and Defence, "The Council admits that there were 'no serious concerns' with this landlord’s properties. This fine is not for being a bad landlord - it is purely about the landlord failing to obey the law in...

£10,000 fine per 2-bedroom shared house as Greenwich mounts witch-hunt to raise revenue

10 Jul 2020 Four buy to let investors have each been fined £10,000 for letting out unlicensed HMOs. The unlicensed properties , all in the Greenwich area, include a two-bedroom HMO rented to four separate tenants, a five-bedroom HMO rented to seven separate tenants, and two separate three-bedroom HMOs.  A council spokeswoman says: “Every single person in our borough deserves...

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...

“All hands to the pumps” demands Lord Chancellor as he vows to catch up on Court and Tribunal cases

06 Jul 2020 The Lord Chancellor has agreed that there should be no constraints in the number of sitting days available during the COVID-19 recovery period for the courts or any hesitation in using fee-paid and deputy judges to fill any gaps which cannot be filled by the salaried judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Lord Justice Lindblom have revealed. “It is now all hands to...

Lettings agent jailed after £182,000 fraud

20 Sep 2021 A lettings agent has been jailed for three years for defrauding tenants and landlords out of more than £182,000.  Lee Clarke, 42, of Park Corner, Windsor, was director of Berkshire Estate Agents in Slough.  He disappeared in 2019 after being investigated by Slough Trading Standards and was expelled from The Property Ombudsman for failing to pay money back to complainants as...

Landlord gets £2,249 fine and criminal record for illegal eviction

18 May 2021 Landlord Antanas Klibavicius has pleaded guilty to illegally evicting his tenant and not taking any steps towards ending the tenancy properly and legally.  Klibavicius, from Sheffield, pleaded guilty to unlawfully depriving his tenant of accommodation contrary to s1(2) Protection from Eviction Act 1977.  Taking into account Klibavicius’ early guilty plea, magistrates...

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...

Landlord fined for failing to make safety improvements

A landlord who failed to comply with an Improvement Notice and carry out essential repairs to his property was ordered to pay fines and costs of almost £800 following an investigation by Harrogate Borough Council. Private landlord Damian John Green, of Heather Lea Avenue in Sheffield, failed to carry out the required works to his rental property on Robert Street, Harrogate, within the agreed...

And this is why Landlords have a bad name

29 Jul 2019 Announcement follows an investigation and police action into the notorious landlords and businessmen. The landlord business of father and son Salvatore and Robert Lopresti is subject to an “urgent” investigation by the council’s housing enforcement team. The announcement follows an investigation into the family ice cream and property rental businesses that resulted in a police...

Landlord fined £6,000 for not having HMO licenses

A landlord has been fined for not licensing 12 buy-to-let properties in the North Ormesby area of Middlesbrough. John Bradley, 39, was the first landlord to be brought to court for not signing up to the scheme since Middlesbrough Council introduced compulsory £580 licences for those who rent out property in the local area in a bid to crackdown on rogue landlords. But while Bradley admitted to...

Prison Sentence for Landlord over Poor Fire Safety

01 Sep 2020 A buy to let property owner has received a four month prison sentence for letting out a property he had already been warned was too dangerous to live in. Manmohan Sahib, of Ilford in Essex, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court after pleading guilty to three offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, including three breaches of a prohibition notice. London Fire...

Slum landlord family must pay £250k under crime proceeds act

Harsha, Chandni and Sanjay Shah crammed 31 tenants into four-bedroom Wembley house A family of slum landlords who crammed 31 people into a suburban four-bedroom house has been ordered to pay back almost £250,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The landlords were earning more than £100,000 a year from the enterprise, which involved squeezing tenants on “sleeping shifts” into rooms fitted with up...

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...

Fire risk assessor prosecuted brings serous doubt to DIY Fire Risk Assessments

09 Sep 2019 South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has welcomed the prosecution of a fire risk assessor, saying it proves that there are consequences for failing to comply with safety laws. David Thompson of Toftwood Health & Safety Solutions was fined £750 and ordered to pay a £170 surcharge and £1,000 costs at Sheffield Magistrates Court on Friday (23 August) for failing to provide a suitable...

DOZENS of landlords have been fined under a crackdown on illegal immigration

Financial penalties totalling £37,000 were handed out in the first eight months after the Right to Rent scheme was rolled out across England, figures obtained by the Press Association reveal. The fines were issued to 62 landlords between the start of February and end of September last year - a rate of around one every four days. Right to Rent requires landlords or householders to establish that...

Council takes to the sky to find rogue landlords

02 Sep 2019 A council used a plane with thermal imaging to catch unscrupulous landlords that allowed tenants to live in substandard conditions. Several people were found to be living in appalling conditions, including some residing in sheds, thanks to the aerial thermal imaging. A total of 21 such sheds were discovered and closed by Oxford City Council and 31 enforcement notices served on...

‘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...

Rogue landlord fined as council clamps down on ‘unacceptable living conditions’

"I hope this sends a clear message - we want to clamp down on unacceptable living conditions." A landlord has been fined for his failure to have a licence in place for the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Barnstaple which he owns and manages. Mr Franco Capocci was found guilty on 31 July at North and East Devon Magistrates Court of failing to obtain a licence in relation to The Gables at 4...

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...

Issuing 2,500 Civil and legal Landlord Penalty Notices puts £7/month on every Liverpool Rent

Overall, 70 per cent of inspected properties in Liverpool have been found to be in breach of their licence condition claims Liverpool City Council since their now defunct selective licensing scheme was launched in 2015, uncovering, say the council, serious hazards such as fire risks, poor electrics and excess cold. Liverpool City Council has carried out over 37,000 compliance actions, issued...

Letting agent fined £80k after investigation into shared houses

09 Oct 2019 Fire at one of the properties triggered the prosecution of Orange Living Ltd - which trades as Loc8me and provides for students A letting agent which counts students among its customers has been fined £80,000 for failing to license shared houses it rented out. A council investigation was triggered after a fire in the attic of one of the properties in Loughborough leased out by Orange...

Leading council has so far fined rogue agents and landlords £100,000

Brent Council is one London's key boroughs leading the charge against poor housing standards. Brent Council, which says it has fined agents and landlords £100,000 since introducing civil penalties last year, revealed it had collected £63,500 of the fines levied and is waiting to collect the remainder under its 49-day payment rules. “When we start the process of issuing a Civil Penalty Notice...

“Screw your Landlord” Westminster City Council launches online tool encouraging HMO Tenants to claim Rent Repayment Orders

In a move designed to punish as many landlords as possible with crucifying Rent Repayment Orders of up to 12 months rent, City of Westminster has launched a "find out of you can screw your landlord" tool on their website. They are obviously using this 'hook' to get tenants to grass-up landlords who have not paid their 'licence tax'. Cynically, It has everything to do with punishing landlords for...

Banned: Rogue agency and director cannot let any property in England

28 May 2021 A London council has secured banning orders against rogue property agents who were previously fined over £70,000 for letting an unlicensed and unsafe home. Simple Properties Management Ltd and the company’s director, Miguel Cabeo Cespedes, were given banning orders prohibiting them from letting any housing and engaging in letting agency or property management work in England. The...

Agent claiming to be unaware property was HMO, loses appeal over £20k fine

A lettings agent that claimed that it was unaware a property was a house in multiple occupation (HMO) has lost its appeal over a £20,000 fine. In January this year Altavon property management ltd and the landlord of the property, Adrian Simion, 30, had been found guilty at Luton Magistrates court of a series of management regulations breaches relating to the safety and running of houses in...

Bristol housing charity tops list of UK’s most-prosecuted landlords

Charity set up to house homeless among landlords convicted of making money from substandard properties but still letting homes to tenants, research finds A Bristol-based charity that receives thousands of pounds in housing benefit to accommodate vulnerable people has topped a list of the UK’s most-prosecuted landlords compiled. Alternative Housing, which was established to provide accommodation...

Landlords: Protect Yourself against 10 Million New Housing Inspectors

Seminar: What EVERY Landlord needs to know about avoiding massive fines and 'ambulance chasers'. Full day in-depth seminar. Thursday, 5 September '19   12pm - 6pm London SW1 Book tickets here On 20th March this year the Government appointed 10 MILLION new housing inspectors. They are not employed. They are on commission for getting Landlords sued. Which means they are highly...

Tenant dies in HMO fire – landlord gets 4 months plus fines, Fire Safety Order

28 Oct 2020 A landlord has been prosecuted following the death of a tenant in a house fire at an HMO said to have had inadequate fire safety precautions. The case was brought by Luton council, working with Bedfordshire Police and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, against landlord Bhagwent Sagoo.  The fire broke out at the property on March 27 2019 originating in the first floor...

Agents & Landlords urged to beware council crackdown and heavy fines

07 May 2021 A crackdown is now underway withTrading Standards divisions now taking an even stricter approach to enforcement of compliance obligations. This is yet another assault on the wallets of letting agents and landlords in addition to ever increasing compliance enforcement by the growing army of council housing revenue generation police (aka Housing Enforcement Officers).Three recent cases...

Brent Council raise almost £100,000 in landlord fines in just four weeks

Four weeks of prosecutions by Brent Council in north London has seen six successful results with total court fines for rogue landlords of £97,727, the highest amount recorded by Brent in such a short period. One private landlord, Bernard Patrick McGowan, was ordered by Willesden Magistrates Court to pay more than £40,000 last week for failing to licence a flat in Craven Park, Harlesden, which...

Landlord fined three times over for “poorly converted” HMO

18 Mar 2021 A landlord and agent must pay more than £300,000 after housing 18 people in squalid conditions. Bristol City Council officers had "serious concerns" for the safety of the residents – including six children – of 24 Lower Ashley Road in St Agnes. Adam Habane, 51, of Dove Street, and Lloyd Beckford, 60, of Lower Ashley Road, ran the building as a house in multiple occupation (HMO),...

Worthing landlord fined £22,000 for renting out unlicensed HMO

Worthing Borough Council found five people living in dangerous conditions in the property. The flat in Heene Road, Worthing, did not have suitable fire detection, and fire doors to individual rooms had not been installed. There was also no safe fire escape route and the condition of the stairs meant that access was hazardous. As required by law, the landlord had also failed to get a licence for...

Criminal record for buy to let investor who didn’t have the right paperwork

3 May 2019 A buy to let investor has been left with a £2,000 bill and a criminal conviction after letting out his property without the appropriate licence. Anthony Bellingham was prosecuted by a council in County Durham us for breaching the requirements of a licensing scheme in the Easington Colliery area. Local magistrates heard the council received information last May suggesting that a...

Housing Act 2004 Section 249A and Schedule 13A

If you’ve just searched for this term, then the chances are very high that you’ve received a letter from your Council’s Housing Enforcement Officer similar to the ones in the photo.

It means that your Council Housing department have already decided that you are guilty without trial of Criminal Acts in relation to The Housing Act 2004 and related Regulations. Often they do not have enough evidence. But most landlords don’t understand the danger they are in and happily give the Council more and more evidence with which to prosecute them.

**Do not attempt to discuss your letter on notice with anyone at the Council before you take professional advice.**

Why?

Because, just like the police when suspecting someone of a serious crime, their only interest now is to get you to self-incriminate so that they can substantiate their “Guilty” decision and can then proceed to extract many £1,000s from you by way of Civil Financial Penalty Fines or take you to Criminal Court.

You would not phone up the police for a bit of a chat to explain why you thought it was ok to drive at 105 miles per hour. You would not dream of giving them all the evidence thy need to prosecute you without having professional representation.  In exactly the same way, to avoid giving the Council all the evidence they need to prosecute or fine you.

And we hate to say it, but you probably are guilty. It is extremely easy to be guilty of offences under the Housing Act(s). 

Click here to get help ASAP

Failure to apply for an HMO or Selective Licence

Many councils’ favourite ‘crime’ is that of failing to apply for an HMO or Selective Licence.

They will raid a house that they think *might* be a licensable HMO of 5 persons under that Mandatory HMO Licensing legislation (or 3 if they have an Additional Licensing Scheme in operation) and they only have to suspect there could be a fifth person living there that you’re probably not even aware of.

Quite often it’s just a visiting girl or boyfriend – but that’s enough for them to throw the book at you.

And throwing the book at you is exactly what they will do because they will set out to find you in breach of ALL of these ‘relevant housing offences’ under Section 249A:

Many councils’ favourite ‘crime’ is that of failing to apply for an HMO or Selective Licence. They will raid a house that they think *might* be a licensable HMO of 5 persons under that Mandatory HMO Licensing legislation (or 3 if they have an Additional Licensing Scheme in operation) and they only have to *suspect* there could be a fifth person living there that you’re probably not even aware of. Quite often it’s just a visiting girl or boyfriend – but that’s enough for them to throw the book at you.

And throwing the book at you is exactly what they will do because they will set out to find you in breach of ALL of these ‘relevant housing offences’ under Section 249A:

  • Housing Act 2004 Section 30 – failure to comply with an improvement notice
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 72 – failure to licence an HMO
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 95 – failure to licence a house under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 (i.e. failure to apply for a Selective Licence)
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 139(7) – failure to comply with an overcrowding notice
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 237 – failure under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations (England) 2006 including (and they usually create a separate Civil Penalty for each of these that they can get you on):
    • Regulation 3 – failure to display the managers full details prominently in the HMO
    • Regulation 4 – failure of the manager to take safety measures
    • Regulation 5 – failure of the manager to maintain water supply and drainage
    • Regulation 6 – failure of the manager to supply and maintain gas and electricity
    • Regulation 7 – failure of the manager to maintain the common parts, fixtures fittings and appliances
    • Regulation 8 – failure of the manager to maintain living accommodation
    • Regulation 9 – failure to provide (adequate) waste disposal facilities

Usually by the time they have totted up all this lot, a Landlord of a single house can be staring £20,000 to £50,000 of Civil Penalty Fines in the face.

Click here to get help ASAP

Not Fit and Proper Person

 

 

But that is not all. The chances are very high that they will continue after issuing this letter to declare you to be a Not Fit and Proper Person to hold a licence – they will do this by refusing to grant a licence for your property in your name. If you have other licenced properties they will often issue a Notice to Revoke licences.

 

Councils can completely destroy your business.

 

And just for good measure, many councils’ not only make your tenants aware that they can reclaim up to 12 months’ rent from you because you didn’t have a licence when you should have had one. Many Councils even help tenants to fill in the forms.

 

Click here to get help ASAP

PACE inverview under caution

If you see ‘helpful’ words in the letter like

“If you would like a meeting to discuss the proposed financial penalty before making your representations,
then please contact the xxxxx team so arrangements can be made to meet at the Town/City Hall”

Do NOT make any such arrangements. This is a trick to get you to attend a PACE (Police And Criminal Evidence ACT) interview under caution.

The sole purpose of which is to trick you into self-incrimination 

Click here to get help ASAP

 Get Help ASAP

If you’ve received one of these Housing Act Section 249A and Schedule 13A: Financial Penalties letters you need to act fast because you have very little time before the fines are imposed.

 Click here to get help ASAP

Engage immediate help from experts in Housing Act Legislation and Regulation like ourselves at Landlord Licensing and Defence.

Don’t think that you will be able to get these fines dropped. There is a very low chance of that. As we said above, it’s very easy for a council enforcement officer to find you guilty and you are Guilty until Proven Innocent.

However, what can be done – and we achieve this on a weekly basis – is for us as your representative to negotiate the level of fines with your council. We can do this because we know the legislation and we know from experience HOW to negotiate.

And remember our discussions with the Council do not incriminate you. If you think you can negotiate with them yourself you are totally wrong. Because everything you say can and will be used against you in evidence.

If the is Council declaring you a Not Fit and Proper Person and refusing or withdrawing license we can find solutions that the council will accept  that can save your business from ruin.

Don’t delay – contact us immediately for the help you need.  Time is absolutely of the essence.

Click here to get help ASAP

Get in touch if you have had a PACE or Interview Under Caution ‘invitation’…

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Success Stories

20 Properties. No selective Licences.

A Landlord in the North West had been very ill and hadn’t been able to deal with the requirements of a Selective Licencing scheme introduced by his Local Authority and which affected 20 properties in his portfolio. The deadline was looming and he was unable to take action. We negotiated an extension of the deadline because of his illness and the fact that he had now appointed us to organise and...

Breaches of planning, overcrowding and licensing: all sorted with no casualties!

21 Oct 2019 Fantastic Morning, taking back a house for a long-established client from a company who had rented it for subletting, not telling the letting agent nor the landlord. None of the employees on the agreement ever lived there, last year it was found to be overcrowded with 10 occupants on a house only supposed to have 5 occupants and they had created a self-contained unit too. Breaches of...

Rent Repayment Order Magic Money Tree is pretty much dead!

10 Aug 2020 by Des Taylor & Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing & Defence “Rent Arrears must be accounted for BEFORE rent is eligible to be reclaimed under a Rent Repayment Order (RRO).” At a stroke, this Judgement of the First-Tier Tribunal (in a case defended by Des Taylor of Landlord Licensing and Defence) means that the no-win/no-fee become almost worthless for the lawyers, and far...

Putney – An Unexpected Solution

A Landlord had purchased a property and wanted to know how to turn it into a HMO and operate it legally as serviced accommodation. It was an ex-council terraced property.   Turning it into a HMO had not been an issue, however the quality of works which had been undertaken to do so was incredibly bad and would not pass regulations under any circumstances. This owner had not been paying proper...

Kingston Prohibition Order

Defending a Prohibition Notice for both the Owner and the Subletting Landlord and replacing the subletting Landlord with a more suitable fit and proper Landlord in order to have the prohibition order withdrawn The owner is an elderly man and his daughter was dealing with the property and had let it to a subletting Company who was the Subletting (Rent to Rent) Landlord. The Owner and Subletting...

Fire Alarm Manufacturer tells engineer to put tenants lives at risk

By Des Taylor 15 May 2019 One of Landlords Defence’s clients had an inconceivable situation yesterday with a major manufacturer of interconnected smoke and heat detector fire alarm units. Our client had found problems some days ago with the units not working properly on test and had the manufacturer sent some replacements via the post, (reassuring the client that although the faulty ones were...

Newark and Sherwood

Prepared contractual agreement for the lease of residential property to be used for serviced accommodation. Defending landlord against Planning Contravention Notice issued by the Council for alleged change of use from C3 to Sui Generis without permission. Defended landlord against council allegation that Building Regulations had been contravened. Defended landlord against Environmental Health...

Solihull HMO

The property owner had owned the property for 20 years or so and two years previously had rented it to a corporation that had put 5 occupants into the property. From the 1st October 2018, all properties with 5 occupants, not all related, were required to have a Mandatory HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) Licence applied for by that date.  The corporation had agreed that it would carry out the...

Battle of Hastings: Upper Tribunal Decision underlines end of Magic Money Tree for Rogue Tenants and their No Win/NoFee allies

17 Mar 2021 In a landmark decision, the Upper Tribunal (Lands) has confirmed that the judgement of the First Tier Tribunal that “Rent Arrears must be accounted for BEFORE rent is eligible to be reclaimed under a Rent Repayment Order (RRO).” This Judgement of the First-Tier Tribunal (in a case defended by Des Taylor of Landlord Licensing & Defence), and now upheld by the Upper Tribunal,...

Judge tears into Northampton Council’s Samantha Ling and her department

14 Jun 2021 In a shocking, and embarrassing for Northampton Borough Council (NBC),  determination by Judge Wayte of the First Tier Tribunal property, he went so far as to suggest that the landlord should make a claim for costs against the Council.  A move that is almost unheard of, such was his condemnation of Samantha Ling and her department. Ling’s department is well known as priding...

Kedleston Road

Handled negotiations for the Client, a Tenant Company where the Letting Agent (as they so often do) was wrongly insistent on using an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, which was the incorrect agreement and not fit for purpose. (An AST is for individuals and not for Companies it is Housing Act 1.1 a. One ought to be able to expect better from Letting Agents!) Protracted negotiations, as we discovered as...

Liverpool Council hands out 2,000 legal notices, 154 cautions, 89 civil penalty notices and 159 prosecutions

11 Apr 2019 A council has revealed the squalid conditions its inspectors have found when visiting rental properties as it looks to extend its landlord licensing scheme. Liverpool City Council has operated a city-wide selective licensing scheme since April 2015 but is now looking to extend it for five years when it expires in March 2020. Council officials say more rogue landlords have been...

Letting agent gives illegal HMO advice

16 May 2019 PLEASE SHARE WIDELY Des Taylor here.  I’ve just been working with a letting agent for a client and found the letting agent had a clear misunderstanding of what constitutes a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation). HMO is formed "when two or more households* occupy a dwelling and the number of occupants is three or more, then a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is formed. *...

West London Company Let

The client was renting the residential property to a Company who help vulnerable young adults and was trying to ascertain if the property needed a licence. His tenant was a corporate company which was providing an immigrant orientation service and also providing their living accommodation.  On contacting us he had attempted to connect with the local Council a number of times to no response. ...

Brentford Developer

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The Legal Stuff

 

 

Housing Act 2004 Section 249A Financial penalties for certain housing offences in England

(1) The local housing authority may impose a financial penalty on a person if satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the person’s conduct amounts to a relevant housing offence in respect of premises in England.

(2) In this section “relevant housing offence” means an offence under—

(a) section 30 (failure to comply with improvement notice),

(b) section 72 (licensing of HMOs),

(c) section 95 (licensing of houses under Part 3),

(d) section 139(7) (failure to comply with overcrowding notice), or

(e) section 234 (management regulations in respect of HMOs).

(3) Only one financial penalty under this section may be imposed on a person in respect of the same conduct.

(4) The amount of a financial penalty imposed under this section is to be determined by the local housing authority, but must not be more than £30,000.

(5) The local housing authority may not impose a financial penalty in respect of any conduct amounting to a relevant housing offence if—

(a) the person has been convicted of the offence in respect of that conduct, or

(b) criminal proceedings for the offence have been instituted against the person in respect of the conduct and the proceedings have not been concluded.

(6) Schedule 13A deals with—

(a) the procedure for imposing financial penalties,

(b) appeals against financial penalties,

(c) enforcement of financial penalties, and

(d) guidance in respect of financial penalties.

(7) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about how local housing authorities are to deal with financial penalties recovered.

(8) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend the amount specified in subsection (4) to reflect changes in the value of money.

(9) For the purposes of this section a person’s conduct includes a failure to act.

 

Housing Act 2004 Schedule 13A Financial penalties under section 249A

Notice of intent

1 Before imposing a financial penalty on a person under section 249A the local housing authority must give the person notice of the authority’s proposal to do so (a “notice of intent”).

2(1) The notice of intent must be given before the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the first day on which the authority has sufficient evidence of the conduct to which the financial penalty relates.

2(2) But if the person is continuing to engage in the conduct on that day, and the conduct continues beyond the end of that day, the notice of intent may be given—

(a) at any time when the conduct is continuing, or

(b) within the period of 6 months beginning with the last day on which the conduct occurs.

2(3) For the purposes of this paragraph a person’s conduct includes a failure to act.

3 The notice of intent must set out—

(a) the amount of the proposed financial penalty,

(b) the reasons for proposing to impose the financial penalty, and

(c) information about the right to make representations under paragraph 4.

Right to make representations

4(1) A person who is given a notice of intent may make written representations to the local housing authority about the proposal to impose a financial penalty.

4(2) Any representations must be made within the period of 28 days beginning with the day after that on which the notice was given (“the period for representations”). 

Final notice

5 After the end of the period for representations the local housing authority must—

(a) decide whether to impose a financial penalty on the person, and

(b) if it decides to impose a financial penalty, decide the amount of the penalty.

6 If the authority decides to impose a financial penalty on the person, it must give the person a notice (a “final notice”) imposing that penalty.

7 The final notice must require the penalty to be paid within the period of 28 days beginning with the day after that on which the notice was given.

8 The final notice must set out—

(a) the amount of the financial penalty,

(b) the reasons for imposing the penalty,

(c) information about how to pay the penalty,

(d) the period for payment of the penalty,

(e) information about rights of appeal, and

(f) the consequences of failure to comply with the notice.

Withdrawal or amendment of notice

9(1) A local housing authority may at any time—

(a) withdraw a notice of intent or final notice, or

(b) reduce the amount specified in a notice of intent or final notice.

9(2) The power in sub-paragraph (1) is to be exercised by giving notice in writing to the person to whom the notice was given. 

Appeals

10(1) A person to whom a final notice is given may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against—

(a) the decision to impose the penalty, or

(b) the amount of the penalty.

10(2) If a person appeals under this paragraph, the final notice is suspended until the appeal is finally determined or withdrawn.

10(3) An appeal under this paragraph—

(a) is to be a re-hearing of the local housing authority’s decision, but

(b) may be determined having regard to matters of which the authority was unaware.

10(4) On an appeal under this paragraph the First-tier Tribunal may confirm, vary or cancel the final notice.

10(5) The final notice may not be varied under sub-paragraph (4) so as to make it impose a financial penalty of more than the local housing authority could have imposed.

Recovery of financial penalty

11(1) This paragraph applies if a person fails to pay the whole or any part of a financial penalty which, in accordance with this Schedule, the person is liable to pay.

11(2) The local housing authority which imposed the financial penalty may recover the penalty or part on the order of the county court as if it were payable under an order of that court.

11(3) In proceedings before the county court for the recovery of a financial penalty or part of a financial penalty, a certificate which is—

(a) signed by the chief finance officer of the local housing authority which imposed the penalty, and

(b) states that the amount due has not been received by a date specified in the certificate,

is conclusive evidence of that fact.

11(4) A certificate to that effect and purporting to be so signed is to be treated as being so signed unless the contrary is proved.

11(5) In this paragraph “chief finance officer” has the same meaning as in section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

Guidance

12 A local housing authority must have regard to any guidance given by the Secretary of State about the exercise of its functions under this Schedule or section 249A.

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