Published 3rd August 2020
As we move into the second half of the year, July has brought along with it some eye-watering fines, more news of rogue landlords and a rise in the action taken by the councils to enforce property licensing.
At Kamma, we understand that property licensing is complex, inconsistent and ever changing. Our technology and software cuts through that complexity to keep you on top of all the changes with clear and accurate advice. We analyse and sort data to help agents, landlords and surveyors understand the impact of Property Licensing and Planning Permission on their properties and assets. By leveraging technology and data, we want to ensure that no tenant has to live in substandard or unsafe accommodation again.
July’s Top Three Unlicensed Properties and Rogue Landlords:
Four rogue landlords have landed themselves £40,000 in total fines after being caught flouting licensing rules by Greenwich Council who say they are committed to actively identifying unlicensed properties and taking enforcement action.
All four houses were unlicensed HMOs and were bought to the council’s attention following local complaints.
“Most of our landlords are following the rules, but for those that aren’t, we encourage you to come forward and license your property before you are caught and risk being fined up to £30,000,”
“Every single person in our borough deserves good quality accommodation and our licensing enforcement is instrumental in ensuring that landlords maintain high standards for their tenants.”Jackie Smith, the council’s cabinet member for community safety and integrated enforcement
Two London landlords and their lettings agents have landed themselves tens of thousands of pounds in fines after a property they were letting was found to be infested with rats and cockroaches.
The property was split between different agencies – three of the rooms in the house were let by Easy Lettings, while the other two were let by UKPA Property Consultants, the trading name for R. B Jethwa Ltd. Easy Lettings and R. B Jethwa were each fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £764.25 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Despite being home to nine people, officers from Barnet council found the property had not been licensed as an HMO, and noted a faulty fire alarm system, stairs and flooring that had been partially eaten by rats, and a severe cockroach infestation.
Owner of the property Asher Abraham was fined £20,000, with £6,113.96 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge, after proceedings at Willesden Magistrates Court.
The landlord lost an appeal this month at the High Court after he built an extension on a property without obtaining the required planning permission.
A retrospective planning application for a ground floor extension was made three years ago for a property on Kirk Street in Hexthorpe.
An appeal to the planning inspector was rejected by the council, which issued enforcement action on the structure in April 2017, its removal and return to the original building condition by Septmber.
After failing to comply with the enforcement notice for almost 20 months, a prosecution case was raised in the magistrates’ court but the landlord opted to escalate to Sheffield Crown Court, where he pleaded guilty and was issued a £15,000 fine plus costs to the council. This case was then taken to the High Court of Appeal, but the judge dismissed the appeal and the £15,000 fine was upheld.
“The Planning Investigation Team has continued to work towards the remediation of the land. Progression had been made prior to the Covid-19 pandemic including the removal of the fencing and gates. Further progress will be made following a site inspection to assess any outstanding requirements of the enforcement notice.”Council spokesperson
Total top 3 story fines reported in trade press this month: £89k
Other Top stories:
Ashfield District Council has teamed up with police officers in the Sutton area of Nottinghamshire to crack down on unlawful landlords operating in the area. The council aims to reassure residents that they are doing everything possible to prevent illegal properties being let in the area.
Both police and the council officers carried out an operation targeting properties that posed a danger to the occupants.
Officers uncovered serious risk of fire and electrocution in a family home and over occupation and dangerous electrics in another property. A further inspection confirmed that a property that had previously been prohibited by the team was, in fact, in occupation.
“The proactive work from our Private Sector Enforcement team is vital in cracking down on rogue landlords who put their tenants and neighbouring properties at risk.
“We are working closely with our Police colleagues to crack down on those who gamble with people’s lives. We rely on reports from the public in order to act on crime and this is a great example of just that”.
Cllr Helen-Ann Smith, deputy leader of the council
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