Four landlords and a letting agent face bills totalling more than £20,000 after being prosecuted by Islington Council for operating unlicensed houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
HMOs are properties occupied by three or more people forming more than one household, and HMO licensing is used to tackle poor management of properties and drive up standards of accommodation in the private sector.
Any person or company having control or managing larger HMOs of three or more storeys occupied by five or more people who do not form a single household is required to apply for an HMO licence. Failure to apply for a HMO licence is an offence which can lead to an unlimited fine.
Since 1 September 2015, Islington has extended HMO licensing requirements to cover all HMOs on Holloway Road and Caledonian Road. This includes all rented properties occupied by three or more people in more than one household and certain converted properties.
In a series of housing prosecutions announced by Islington Council today (3 May 2016):
On 10 March 2016, Nicholas and Suzanne Simpson of Springfield Road, Wincanton, Somerset and Marlborough Road, Islington admitted operating an unlicensed HMO on Marlborough Road, Islington. They were each fined £700 and their company Amicable Inns Ltd of Connaught Avenue, Frinton-on-Sea was ordered to pay council costs of £1,500.
Nessfield Ltd of Holloway Road, Islington, became the first landlord to be convicted of operating an unlicensed HMO on Holloway Road under the new additional licensing scheme. The company was found guilty and on 14 April 2016 was fined £2,000 with costs of £1,196, a total penalty of £3,196.
On 14 April 2016, Relocations in London Ltd, trading as ‘Relocate you’ of Royal College Street, Camden, was found guilty of operating an unlicensed HMO on Sussex Way. Investigations revealed the company had sublet the property without the owner’s consent. It was poorly managed and found to be occupied by eight unrelated people without a fire detection system installed. The company were ordered by the court to pay £6,190 (a fine of £4,000, £2,070 towards costs incurred by the council and a victim surcharge of £120.)
On 14 April 2016, Juzar Jeevanjee of Liverpool Road, Islington admitted operating an unlicensed HMO on Gillespie Road. The court ordered Mr. Jeevanjee to pay £4,648 (a fine of £2,500, £2,028 towards costs incurred by the council and a victim surcharge of £120.)
On 22 April 2016, Tony Alan Estates Ltd of Plender Street Camden admitted operating an unlicensed HMO on Tabley Road without a licence. The court ordered Tony Alan Estates to pay £7,458.75 (a fine of £3,500, £3,838.75 towards costs incurred by the council and a victim surcharge of £120.)
Across the five prosecutions, the court awarded fines totalling £13,900 and the payment of council costs of over £10,000.
Jan Hart, Islington Council’s director of public protection, said:
“More and more Islington residents rent in the private sector, and we want to make sure they have decent homes.
“Most landlords make sure they follow the law and licensing rules, but we will take action where landlords fail to do this.
“Landlords and tenants can contact the council in confidence for advice if they have concerns about property licensing.”