Published 1st October 2021
Licensing enforcement has been on the agenda for many councils around the UK this year, with no signs of slowing down. With Michael Gove replacing Robert Jenrick as Housing Minister this month it remains to be seen whether this trend will continue. Looking back at the last month, we have not only seen landlords and agents breaching licensing and safety regulations and facing record fines, but there has also been a lot of discussions about a landlord who has pleaded guilty to over 30 offences related to fraud and false representation.
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.
The owner and manager of a shared property was fined £30,000 for putting his tenants at risk by operating an unlicensed property. The Central Bedfordshire Council conducted an investigation and discovered that a HMO property, located above a restaurant just outside Shefford was unlicensed and in poor condition.
The property was found to have several safety breaches due to the lack of fire safety measures and several fire safety risks. Following the investigation, the landlord and management agent were ordered to take measures to mitigate the risks and apply for a HMO licence – but ultimately failed to do so and was ordered to pay a fine.
A letting agent in Slough has pleaded guilty for 17 counts of fraud by false representation and another 18 charges against him at a previous court hearing earlier in August. It was found that between 2013 and 2018, the agent defrauded over 30 clients, including tenants and landlords, of over £180,000 in total.
The landlord knowingly did not pass on rent from tenants to the landlords and instead chose to keep the rent monies and deposits. After being investigated by Slough Trading Standards in 2019, he disappeared and was later expelled from The Property Ombudsman for failing to pay back as complaints came in. He was later described as aggressive and hostile by clients who had submitted complaints about him. He now faces three years in jail and additional fines.
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A landlord in Liverpool was this month fined £7,000 for failing to carry out safety and licensing requirements at his property following an earlier inspection and court case in 2020 where he was ordered to pay almost £4,000. His total non-compliance bill has now surpassed £13,000!
Both in 2020 and now in 2021, the landlord was found guilty of failing to obtain the correct licences for his two properties in a selective licensing area. He also plead guilty of not carrying out the necessary repairs and safety checks at the properties as the council inspectors found evidence that the previously issued improvement notices had not been started, and he therefore faced, and plead guilty of an additional six offences under the Housing Act 2004.
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