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 there is a legal process that we have to follow in order to [firstly] notify the landlord of or intention to issues a CPN and [also] allow a period of time for the landlord to appeal the issuing of the CPN,” a council spokesperson says.
“[If a landlord] refuses to pay the civil penalty once the allotted period has expired, Brent Council will pursue the case through to the civil courts.”
Brent, along with Hackney and Tower Hamlets, is one of the capital’s most deprived areas and has come down hard on landlords and agents who provide sub-standard accommodation.
Nearly 5,000 properties within its boundaries are now covered by two main property licensing schemes.
These are a borough-wide licensing scheme for HMOs as well as a selective licensing scheme for rented properties within certain areas, which the borough charges £340 for a five-year license.
The fines collection figure came to light as Brent revealed its latest scalp.
Landlord Errol Thompson, who lives in Bedford but rents out a two-bedroom apartment in Harlesden, Brent which falls within its selective licensing scheme, must now pay a fine and costs totalling £7,000 after pleading guilty at a court case held last week at Willesden Magistrate Court.
Thompson had failed to pay for a selective license for the property despite being sent letters by the council urging him to do so.
“The law is clear that any landlord who rents out a property in Harlesden, Willesden and Wembley Central needs a selective licence,” says Brent councillor Harbi Farah.
Brent has also disclosed that it has prosecuted 125 agents and landlords since bringing in a new housing regime in 2016, raising some £730,000 in fines for offences outside the licensing schemes.
Editorial clarification: the original version of this story highlighted how a third of the Brent fines had yet to be collected, but the council contacted us to clarify that this was not because they were not chasing the agents who had been fined for payment, but because they were required to give them 49 days to pay.