Landlord News

Company fined £47,900 for breach of HMO regulations

Em Morley - February 17, 2016

A property company managing a HMO in Notting Hill has been ordered to pay a substantial fine, after not complying with HMO regulations.

AA London Property Limited was fined £47,900 in relation to 24 charges under the Housing Act 2004. Council officers found numerous breaches or regulations. These ranged from a faulty smoke detector to unsafe bannisters.

Charges

The director of AA London Property Limited, Jagit Kaur, was fined £21,780 relating to 16 charges under the Housing Act 2004. Kaur entered guilty pleas to nine of the charges at a previous hearing and was subsequently found guilty of the other seven charges after a trial at the City of London Magistrates’ Court.

Both the firm and Kaur were prosecuted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in relation to offences at 14-16 Clanricarde Gardens, W2. The prosecutions followed a failure to comply with a Prohibition Order made under the Housing Act 2004, which prohibited the use of one of the rooms as living accommodation. In addition, there were breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and failure to produce tenancy agreements under Section 235 of the Housing Act 2004.

Kaur and the company opposed the need to provide tenancy agreements to the council, citing that they would be in breach of the Data Protection Act. Additionally, they disputed that a sink was blocked on the day of inspection by a council officer and that smoke alarms were incorrectly installed. Kaur’s defence team argued that somebody else was managing the property.

Company fined £47,900 for breach of HMO regulations

Company fined £47,900 for breach of HMO regulations

Responsibilities

Magistrates also heard that the property in question is a six-storey HMO, that had been converted into 35 lettings. Around 45 tenants lived in the building.

In court, the council produced a copy of the HMO application form, which confirmed that AAA London Property Limited was the licence holder and that Kaur was the manager, with responsibility.

When sentencing, the court took into account the previous guilty pleas, alongside both parties’ good character. As such, the magistrates imposed a reduction to the financial penalty imposed. In addition to the fine AAA London Property Limited and Kaur were told to pay council costs of £7,709.75 and to pay a victim surcharge of £120.

Duty

‘Councils have a duty to ensure that licensed HMOs are fit for the number of occupiers,’ said Councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s cabinet member for housing. ‘The purpose of the licensing requirements is to enable local authorities to ensure that HMOs are safe, have adequate facilities for the occupiers and are properly managed.’[1]

‘It is very important that, when faced with landlords who are not adhering to the appropriate regulations and licensing conditions, we take all necessary action to ensure that tenants are protected and that the properties they live in meet all legal requirements. In this case, both the company and its director failed to meet the minimum standards and their responsibilities as a landlord so I am very pleased that the court has handed down these fines,’ he added.[1]

[1] https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/2/notting-hill-property-company-fined-47-900-for-hmo-failings