A landlord has been hit with a £4,000 fine plus costs of over £5,000 after failing to license a property in multiple occupation (HMO), just weeks before a new council licensing scheme comes into play across the borough from 1 April.
The case, heard at Thames Magistrates court this month found that the landlord, Mr Mohammed Saleh Ahmed, had failed to license the property as landlords must do.
Across Tower Hamlets, landlords have to licence HMOs that have three or four occupants living as two or more households with shared facilities that are not already covered by the mandatory scheme that exists for larger HMOs of five or more tenants.
The scheme ensures that properties are managed effectively and provide a safe home for tenants. The licensing scheme also provides protection against anti-social behaviour by ensuring landlords take up references from tenants and give new responsibilities to landlords to account for their tenants’ behaviour.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “This case sends out a message to show that the council can and will enforce against landlords who fail to register their properties and that they face serious penalties for failing to do so.This prosecution action and the new scheme shows we are taking action to protect tenants and support standards for renters in the private rented sector.”
Councillor Sirajul Islam Deputy Mayor for Housing and Statutory Deputy Mayor said: “The council cares about renters and will insist that landlords get the necessary licensing that protects both landlord and tenants. Housing is at such a premium in the borough that shared overcrowded flats used by multiple tenants are common. The scheme is essential in protecting health and safety for tenants and has real teeth.”
The new additional licensing scheme enables tenants to check whether their home is licensed. The council is developing a service to help tenants apply for a rent repayment order that could see up to 12 months rent repaid to them if they are living in an unlicensed property. The council can also recover rent paid through housing benefits.
As this case shows, landlords who fail to apply a licence could face prosecution, an unlimited fine and paying a rent refund to tenants.They also run the risk of a civil penalty.
At just £520, the fee for a five year HMO licence is one of the lowest in London. It represents a small investment for good landlords who also want to see criminal landlords driven out of business.
The application form and guidance for landlords, plus a full lists of licensed landlords is available on the council’s website.
For more information about this release contact the London Borough of Tower Hamlets communications team on 020 7364 4389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Friday 29th March 2019