Published 30th July 2021
The summer is a busy period for many agents and landlords, especially this year with a booming lettings market that is recovering from last year’s lockdown and travel restrictions. Councils are continuing to push for more regulations in the private rented sector to protect vulnerable tenants. For example, this month, Bury Council has adopted new regulations to help them enforce standards in the private rented sector for landlords who breach any licensing or safety regulations. Landlords who breach electrical regulations in their rental properties can now face fines up to £30,000.
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. We leverage technology and data to help agents and landlords stay on top of new property licensing schemes and avoid licensing fines. Contact us or book a demo now to understand how Kamma can solve property licensing for you.
A landlord in Derby was sentenced to nine months imprisonment and has been suspended for two years due to severe fire safety breaches in his rented property. The landlord has also been fined £50,000 in addition to the suspension.
The fire safety breaches were identified after a fire took place and firefighters inspected the property at the end of 2019. They discovered that the fire doors had no self-closers or smoke seals and that the fire alarm was not working. In addition to this, they could not find any evidence of a fire risk assessment and fire extinguishers were out of date.
Latif Rehman was fined £150,070 for three breaches of an Emergency Prohibition Order and for failing to rectify safety hazards in his property. The landlord had his conviction upheld but fines reduced to £32,000 after an appeal, with a collection order being served.
The breaches were related to a HMO he let and was brought to court in November 2019 following a council inspection. Rehman appealed the conviction and maintained his not guilty plea.
After a re-inspection of the property, it was found that insufficient work had been carried out on the property and the landlord still failed to comply with regulations.
A landlord in South Tyneside was recently fined £16,000 for failing to obtain a HMO licence whilst leasing his property to more than four people. The council said that the property was also lacking fire safety measures and was subject to an improvement notice. The landlord later appealed the penalty, but the appeal was rejected.
Managing HMOs and ensuring licensing and safety compliance in South Tyneside has been a challenge for the local council in recent years as more landlords operate HMOs.
Stuart Wright, Head of Environment at South Tyneside Council, said: “This is the first Civil Penalty we have been awarded and it sends a clear message to landlords that they must operate within the law and that their properties must be decent, well-managed and safe.”
A one-time promoter of The Rolling Stones has been obliged to repay his tenants almost £12,000 in rent for leasing an unlicensed HMO. In early 2020, three of the tenants contacted Brent Council about the landlord’s failure to repair a shower and reported that the house was unlicensed.
The landlord claimed he was unaware that the property had become an HMO, having previously let it to fewer people, and that the management agency had failed to inform him of this change.
However, at the time the property was unlicensed, the landlord had assumed the day to day management of the property himself. The landlord says he applied for a licence as soon as he became aware it was needed. Yet, the Tribunal this month found that there had been communication difficulties between the landlord and the management agency and he was obliged to pay almost £12,000 in a Rent Repayment Order to his tenants.
A landlord in Slough was recently fined after a fire broke out in his property. As a result of the fire, it was brought to the attention of the council that he had been leasing an unlicensed HMO with four bedrooms to eight tenants.
The house was deemed an HMO, but this was not registered with the council and the landlord did not have any of the legally required licences. It was also found that the fire safety measures in the house were inadequate, as it lacked fire alarms and fire doors.
After council inspections were completed, an emergency prohibition order was issued preventing anyone living in the property until the safety issues had been rectified. The landlord was fined almost £1,000 and ordered to pay more than £3,000 costs and victim surcharge.
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