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

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...

Tribunal Tells Coventry City Council that £31,499 Landlord Penalty is ’not in any way reasonable’ and slashes it to £3,300

24 Oct 2019 In the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) the Landlord Mr Tan Sandhu appealed against a fixed penalty of £24,649 (initially £31,499) imposed by Coventry City Council for breaches of the Housing Act 2004. Reviewing the Tribunal’s decision, Phil Turtle, compliance consultant with Landlord Licensing and Defence said “Whilst we cannot condone a landlord not knowing and / or failing...

Millionaire wife of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlord who banned single mothers and Indians must pay £25,000 after failing to fix disabled tenant’s hot water for five months

Judith Wilson, 68, failed to fix a disabled tenant's hot water for five months Ashford Borough Council served her a notice after ex-tenants complained She was found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice at a court Wilson was fined £10,000 and she was ordered to pay costs of almost £15,000 A millionaire landlord has been ordered to pay £25,000 after she disobeyed a notice to to...

University acts Criminally putting Landlords in Danger of Prosecution

23 Oct 2020 Following the recent revelation that the University of Warwick is dumping hundreds of private landlords in favour of its own student accommodation , it has today come to light that as part of this strategy it appears to have deliberately put landlords subject to Coventry City Council’s controversial Additional Licensing scheme at risk of prosecution and massive fines. These landlords...

Rogue landlord in Harrow faces jail if he doesn’t pay £1.5m fine

Vispasp Sarkari convicted after being caught cramming families into squalid properties A rogue landlord who illegally carved up family homes to create cramped bedsits and charged tenants hundreds of pounds a month is facing prison unless he pays what is believed to be a record £1.5m penalty for breaking planning laws. Vispasp Sarkari, 56, from Harrow, north-west London, has been ordered to pay...

“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...

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...

Civil penalty notices served on landlords who cannot be named

11 Sep 2020 Two landlords have been served with civil penalty notices for operating unlicensed HMOs.  The notices were from Wellingborough council; one was for £6,000 and the other for £8,250. Details of the individuals and properties cannot be disclosed as the penalties are civil sanctions, not criminal, however the council confirms that both landlords were operating licensable HMOs...

London Boroughs of Camden and Newham slated by Housing Ombudsman for SEVERE maladministration

27 Oct 2020 The Housing Ombudsman has named the five social landlords involved in cases where it found severe maladministration in 2019/20. The report, Severe maladministration findings in 2019/20, sets out the case background, the Ombudsman’s assessment and findings, plus the orders made. The cases were: Two involving the London Boroughs of Camden and Newham where there were lengthy delays in...

Oxford landlord convicted of repeat HMO offences

An Oxford landlord has been convicted for the second time in 12 months for operating an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and ordered to pay a total of £6,146 in fines and costs. The investigation followed a fire in the house which had a faulty fire detection system. Mr Zahid Ali Rana, 58, of Boundary Brook Road, Oxford, was prosecuted after environmental health staff from Oxford...

Rogue rent-to-rent landlord will face prison if he tries to rent out property again

06 Oct 2020 A landlord has failed to overturn a ban from renting out properties after repeatedly putting tenants’ lives at risk by letting unsafe housing. Balazs Stalter was prosecuted earlier this year by Wandsworth Council’s housing team following complaints received from people who had been renting accommodation from him. The rogue operator rented large properties himself and then unlawfully...

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...

HMO landlord fined after Barnet Council investigation

A landlord has been ordered to pay £2,650 in fines and costs after failing to licence a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), following a successful prosecution by Barnet Council. Investigators discovered that the two-storey property in Hamonde Close, Edgware, was housing seven people during an evening inspection by the council’s Private Sector Housing Enforcement Team. They wrote to the owner,...

Landlord fined for keeping tenant’s deposit in a tin

15 Oct 2020 A landlord has been ordered to pay his ex-tenant £1,500 after failing to protect her deposit with an approved scheme. The Housing and Property Chamber First-tier tribunal for Scotland found that Mark Bradley of Gourock had not protected his tenant’s deposit for five and a half years, when he should have protected it within 30 working days of the start of the tenancy. In April 2014,...

Landlord fined for operating illegally

Nasar Shaikh, of Coleshill Road, Birmingham, was fined £5,000 after failing to obtain a licence from Waltham Forest Council to rent out a two-bedroom flat on Theydon Street, Walthamstow. The landlord let the property to a young family who had been living at the house since 2010. The council identified the address in 2017 as one that needed a licence, but when officers contacted Shaikh, after...

Landlord fined £340,000 in 2017 is now fined another £150,000

02 Dec 2019 A rogue landlord has been fined more than £150,000 after failing to rectify safety hazards in a property he let. Two years ago Rehman was ordered to pay in excess of £340,000 after illegally converting houses into bedsits. A rogue landlord has been fined more than £150,000 after failing to rectify safety hazards in a property he let. Latif Rehman of Birmingham was fined a total of...

Landlord fined for failure to comply

21 Jan 2020 A buy-to-let landlord has been ordered to pay more than £2,000 after ignoring several requests to carry out important repairs to a property in Bridlington, Yorkshire.  David Christlow, of Prospect Street in Bridlington, was fined a total of £2,000, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and full costs of £2,282.93 after pleading guilty at Beverley Magistrates’ Court to...

The true Cost of Unlicensed HMOs

30 Jan 2020 A landlord in bath was fined £10,000 plus £4,000 costs and given a criminal record in Bath this month for not licensing her HMO. We see cases of this every week and the "going rate" is around £12,000 for not licensing an HMO.  But that is only the start. To 'obtain proof' that you are operating an unlicensed HMO, the councils often effect dawn raids turning up 6 or 8 of them at...

Mandatory Electrical Test (EICR) before you can let any property will be Law very soon

14 Jan 2020 By Giles Parker of Nearly Legal. The draft of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 has been laid in Parliament. The regs require a resolution of each house, so this will not be an immediate approval, but should be soon – it looks like the intention is for the Regs to be in force from 1 April 2020. From the draft, there will be a...

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...

Record £20,000 fine for unlicensed landlord with 62 properties

Local man Charles Baker is to pay fine and costs after failing to gain relevant licences from Rent Smart Wales. A Welsh landlord with 62 apartments within 16 rented properties has been fined a record £20,000 for failing to obtain a licence from Rent Smart Wales to operate them. Charles Baker of Cyncoed Road, Cyncoed, Cardiff was found guilty at the city’s Magistrates Court and will now have to...

A Hertfordshire landlord has pleaded guilty to 28 offences resulting in a fine of over £20,000.

The convictions related to two private properties in the Hatfield area. 23 offences applied to one and the last five applied to the other. The first property, a HMO in Fern Dells, had failures with gas, electric and fire safety ad was therefore potentially dangerous for tenants. Extensive damp and mould was also found by the local council. There was also disrepair to windows and doors. The five...

Bristol Council Starts Cynical campaign to bankrupt Landlords

13 Jul 2020 In another cynical move by landlord-hating councils, Bristol Council is encouraging tenants in the town who believe they have been mistreated by landlords to seek punitive rent repayment orders. Said Phil Turtle, director of Landlord Licensing & Defence “The only conclusion one can draw is that this is purely vindictive.”  The main reason for the grant of Rent Repayment Orders is...

‘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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

Two landlords have been fined for letting out a flat that had no heating or windows.

01 May 2019 Two buy to let investors in Chester have been ordered to pay more than £5,000 for renting out a flat without windows or any form of heating. Following our recent article reporting the Slough landlord who was hiding tenants in their rental property by boarding up the windows, two Chester landlords have been found to be renting out a buy to let property with no windows. The property is...

£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...

Record fine for unregistered HMO landlord as two landlords prosecuted

Two Brighton & Hove landlords of shared houses have been prosecuted for failing to license their properties as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) with one facing an unprecedented £20,000 fine. Both were prosecuted under the Housing Act 2004 at Eastbourne Magistrates Court. Neither defendant appeared at the hearing this week and neither was represented. Sarah Jordan, who is the landlord of...

Wirral Council Extends Selective Licensing Scheme

Landlords are being warned that Wirral Council is extending its selective licensing scheme, after a family of landlords was fined more than £16,000 for failing to comply with the system. From April 2019, streets in Birkenhead, Hamilton Square and Seacombe will become subject to selective licensing, which means that all landlords with properties in these areas must apply for a licence to let...

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 £60,000 for license breaches

A court has fined a Gateshead private landlord £60,000 for committing serious offences under The Housing Act 2004. Mr X. the landlord* of the property in Ridley Gardens in Swalwell, was found guilty of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice and breaching the conditions of his landlord licence by failing to effectively manage his property. Issues with the property, which is located within...

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...

Landlords ordered to pay more than £6k for HMO failings

16 May 2019 A buy-to-let landlord has been ordered to pay more than £6,000 in relation to 12 charges under the Housing Act after council officers found numerous breaches of regulations at a house in multiple occupation ( HMO ) ranging from defective windows to failing to produce a gas safety certificate. Mahmut Gilgil, of Blandford Road, BH15, was convicted of a series of failings at the HMO,...

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...

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 denied licences despite past conviction being ‘spent’

10 Dec 2020 A London council has confirmed its right to refuse licenses to criminal landlords - even reformed ones. A story in the East London Guardian says Nasim Hussain and her daughter Farina took the Waltham Forest council to court after the family’s licences for 29 rented properties were revoked and seven applications for new licences refused. The two women argued the council was wrong to...

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...

Two Cambridge landlords fined for breaching health and safety standards

Two landlords in Cambridge have been fined for health and safety breaches in their privately rented properties. Following an investigation by Cambridge city council, a local landlord was served with a financial penalty notice of £8951.60 after a property in multiple occupation (HMO) on Garlic Row was found to be unlicensed and had unsatisfactory fire precautions. In a separate investigation by...

Stevenage BTL investor fined for attic room

A Stevenage buy to let investment landlord has been prosecuted for letting out an unsuitable attic room ignoring a council prohibition order. Stevenage Borough Council had made a prohibition order in November 2014 under the Housing Act 2004, prohibiting the occupation of the attic room at a property in The Noke, Stevenage. The council made the prohibition order due to the works completed to...

Landlord and Agent fined for 32 occupants in 2 bed flat

The managing director of a letting agency and the Landlord of a two-bedroom flat where an unbelievable 32 people were found to be living have been fined, along with the agency itself. Altogether they have been ordered to pay a remarkably low £30,000. However, as this was a criminal prosecution in court rather than civil financial penalties it is normal for the fines to be lower because the...

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...

Council adopts ‘zero-tolerance approach’ to rogue landlords

A private landlord has been fined by Willesden Magistrates Court for poor and potentially dangerous housing conditions following a prosecution by Brent Council. The prosecution of Monojor Ali, of Cairnfield Avenue, NW2, is one of more than fifty already made this year by Brent Council, which councillor Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing, says “sends a clear message that the council is...

Six month custodial sentence for criminal landlord

03 Jul 2019 A Derby landlord has been handed a six month prison sentence following a successful prosecution by Derby City council. Mr Rajinder Narroya was prosecuted by the Derby City Council Housing Standards Team at a case heard in South Derbyshire Magistrates Court on Thursday 20th June. The prosecution related to two offences about rented flats on Uttoxeter New Road, Derby. Following...

“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...

Council boasts of issuing 133 penalty notices and 23 improvement notices

02 Jul 2019 A London council wants to extend its private rental sector licensing scheme - and in doing so is boasting of the number of notices it’s so far issued against landlords. Havering council has begun a consultation looking at extending its scheme, launched initially in March 2018. As part of the publicity promoting its extension, the council says it has issued 133 financial penalty...

Oxford landlord issued financial penalty of £15,624 for HMO offences

An Oxford landlord has been issued a financial penalty of £15,624 for controlling an unsafe House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the Cowley area of Oxford. The East Oxford-based landlord, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was investigated after environmental health officers from Oxford City Council visited a rented property on Kames Close in August 2017. The house was found to be an...

£30,000 fine for lack of safe fire escape route – as resident hangs off guttering to save his life

A resident was found standing on a windowsill hanging from guttering and had to be rescued by firefighters. This was because he was unable to access any emergency escape route during the fire due to inadequate fire precautions. These were problems that would have been identified if the management company had undertaken a Fire Risk Assessment. Management company Harper Stone Properties Ltd has...

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

Epsom Emergency Licence Application

It was 30th September 2018 at 4pm. This is highly significant because it was just 8 hours before new HMO licensing deadline of 1st October 2018. If an HMO application was not properly lodged by that deadline, significant Civil Penalty fines could apply. While the team was doing a HMO licence application on another property for this Landlord, he suddenly had the realisation that a house he was...

Brentford Developer

A property developer had decided to change a three-bed semi-detached house into a 6 bedroom all en-suite HMO. Initially we inspected the property at purchase and contributed to best practice and design aspects to comply with planning use under permitted development and HMO Licensing.  As an expense saver and ongoing economy we suggested the removal of gas at the property and use of...

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...

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...

Letting Agent held to account by Landlords Defence

19 Jun 2019 11th June saw, for us, the first evidence of the Tenant Fee Ban (TFB) being misunderstood and a residential tenant being charged a £1000 holding deposit on a £1100 per calendar month rental starting 22nd June. On speaking with the tenants’ representative, consulting with the agent indirectly as a secret shopper, to confirm their misunderstanding, we engaged the tenant with the local...

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. ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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. *...

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...

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...

20 Properties. No selective Licences.

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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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