LATEST: Judge tells landlords ‘ignorance of HMO rules won’t prevent huge fines’

A judge has advised landlords not to rely on other people to keep them abreast of licensing ©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - LATEST: Judge tells landlords ‘ignorance of HMO rules won’t prevent huge fines’ | LandlordZONE.

LATEST: Judge tells landlords ‘ignorance of HMO rules won’t prevent huge fines’

A judge has advised landlords not to rely on other people to keep them abreast of licensing requirements after handing out a whopping £47,000 rent repayment order.

Landlord Karen Merricks tried to argue that she was twice given the wrong advice by Tower Hamlets Council when inquiring about HMO licencing, but a First Tier Property Tribunal threw out her argument and had also relied on her letting agent’s advice, ruling that her ignorance was no excuse.

Her seven tenants who lived at the property in Tomlins Grove (pictured), London, will now share out £47,256 after living there for two years from September 2018.

The tribunal heard that Merricks phoned the council around 2017 when someone in the planning department allegedly advised her that she did not need a licence for the property so she made no further enquiries and took no further advice.

The judge ruled: “The advice she supposedly received was clearly wrong on the first occasion and may well have been wrong too on the second occasion.

“There is a significant possibility that either the respondent gave the wrong information or misunderstood the information she was given. The respondent’s ignorance does not amount to a reasonable excuse.”

Keep abreast

It added: “Landlords and their agents would be expected to keep abreast of such matters as the licensing requirements through professional memberships, mailing lists, newspapers, specialist publications.

“The respondent said she relied on agents to keep her abreast of any obligations but such processes are clearly insufficient as she did not pick up on the licensing requirements.”

Kamma CEO Orla Shields (pictured) tells LandlordZONE that many councils are now taking the opportunity to target tenants through the incentive of RROs.

She says: “I think the real lesson for landlords here is that they have to be on top of their compliance. We work with a number of great agents who do a superb job of keeping their landlords informed, but we know that others don’t see it as a priority. Our advice is to work with only the best agents, and give serious consideration to NRLA membership.”

©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - LATEST: Judge tells landlords ‘ignorance of HMO rules won’t prevent huge fines’ | LandlordZONE.

Source : Landlord Zone More   

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Shocking photos of unlicenced HMO released following £20,000 landlord fine

Criminal landlord Besnik Halaj has been fined £20,000 for housing vulnerable tenants in an unlicensed and dangerous ©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - Shocking photos of unlicenced HMO released following £20,000 landlord fine | LandlordZONE.

Shocking photos of unlicenced HMO released following £20,000 landlord fine

Criminal landlord Besnik Halaj has been fined £20,000 for housing vulnerable tenants in an unlicensed and dangerous HMO.

Shocking photos show bedsits in a terrible state, a double plug socket completely removed from the wall with exposed wires and a major mould problem on the kitchen ceiling.

In a case brought by South Derbyshire District Council, the 47-year-old admitted four offences under the Housing Act. 

Problems at Halaj’s property off Elmsleigh Drive, in Midway (pictured) were first investigated by environmental health officers in May 2019, who told him it needed a licence and to ensure that it met safety standards.

A follow-up visit during late 2019 with the police international liaison office found it was still in use as an HMO and now posed a serious risk to the tenants’ health.

Defects discovered

They discovered a deficient fire detection system, lack of fire doors, electrical defects, no hot water, no gas safety certificate and a kitchen in a poor state of repair.

Magistrates said the offences were so serious that the landlord had put people’s lives in danger. Along with the fine, they awarded costs to the council of £1,427 and a victim surcharge of £181.

Councillor Steve Taylor, chair of the environment and development services committee, says: “Halaj wilfully ignored the law and the advice of our officers and tried to profit from the vulnerability of his tenants.

“We will investigate and take action as necessary and any landlord who thinks that they can rent unsafe housing in South Derbyshire had better think again.”

©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - Shocking photos of unlicenced HMO released following £20,000 landlord fine | LandlordZONE.

Source : Landlord Zone More   

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