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 scene in Hall Lane by the London Fire Brigade. The tenants were lucky to escape without injury and council staff helped them find emergency accommodation, later identifying numerous breaches of the minimum safety standards for HMOs. An investigation by the council found that the property had no fire doors or fire extinguishers, and an inadequate fire alarm.
Councillor Richard Cornelius, Chair of the Housing and Growth Committee, said: “Six lives were put at risk because of the negligence of one man and his property company. This is unacceptable. We will pursue and take action against all landlords who breach property law to the detriment of their tenants. HMOs must be licensed, to help ensure that safety standards are met at all times – if they are not, you can expect a hefty fine when we take you to court.”
Keylid Property Limited and its director Ali Reza Mirzaie pleaded guilty to failing to licence the Hall Lane house, and for failing to meet minimum standards of management. They were each ordered to pay a £2,500 fine, £181 victim surcharge and £2,411.45 costs after being prosecuted by Barnet Council at Willesden Magistrates Court on Thursday 11 March.
Landlords are legally required to licence HMO properties with their local council. Failure to do so can lead not just to prosecution, but to the issuing of Civil Penalty Notices of up to £30,000 per offence.