Housing Act 2004 Section 249A and Schedule 13A  Financial Penalties

Landlord fined £25,000 over lack of hot water for disabled tenant

Judith Wilson, who owns 300 houses in Kent, ignored council enforcement notices. The wife of Britain’s most controversial buy-to-let landlord, Fergus Wilson, has been ordered to pay £25,000 in fines and legal costs after a court ruled that she had failed to supply hot water to a disabled tenant. The court found that Judith Wilson, who revealed she has more than 300 houses in her name in the...

Brighton landlord prosecuted for unlicensed HMO

Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning enforcement team has prosecuted a landlord for letting a Brighton home as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) without a licence, in the first successful prosecution by the council regarding an unauthorised conversion of a house into a small HMO. James Trevor Ford of Maidstone Road, Horsmonden in Kent had made no attempt to secure permission for the...

BTL landlord ordered to pay £9,500 for failing to maintain property

02 Mar 2020 A buy-to-let landlord in Liverpool has been ordered to pay almost £9.500 after failing to provide acceptable living conditions for his tenant. John William Kildare was found guilty of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice after allowing his tenant to live in dangerous conditions. According to Liverpool City Council, the Hanford Avenue property, in Orrel Park, had a long list...

‘Landlord in Crisis’ Cases This Week

23 Jun 2020 The last two weeks has been hectic and often people see what we publish and ask what exactly do we do? Well here are some of the things we have covered in the last two weeks, no day is ever boring and it is a long read and these cases are all landlords just like you: Breaking the Law If you drive at 90mph you will eventually get caught. If you break the law of the Housing Act 2004 or...

Property manager hit with £10,500 fine for unlicensed HMO

Property manager hit with £10,500 fine for unlicensed HMO A company and the manager of a house of multiple occupation (HMO) in South Hampstead, north-west London, have been hit with a hefty fine following legal proceedings brought by the Camden Council. Manager of the property, Benjamin George Wilson, aged 40 from Barnet, having earlier pleaded guilty to operating an HMO without an HMO licence,...

Landlord Fined £2000 for substandard property

07 Oct 2019 A buy-to-let landlord in Sutton has been ordered to pay more than £2,000 after failing to provide acceptable living conditions for his tenants. Jonathan Patrick Hoey was found guilty of breaching an emergency prohibition order by the district council issued two months earlier. The action was taken in relation to a property he owned on Seagate Farm in Long Sutton, Spalding,...

Landlords advised to watch out as Councils accused of not issuing enough Rent Repayment Orders

March 29, 2019 Councils in England have been accused of failing to use powers to tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector. A response to a parliamentary question this week on the use of rent repayment orders (RROs) revealed that just three have been issued by local authorities to claw back Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit paid through rent in the 18 months to...

“All hands to the pumps” demands Lord Chancellor as he vows to catch up on Court and Tribunal cases

06 Jul 2020 The Lord Chancellor has agreed that there should be no constraints in the number of sitting days available during the COVID-19 recovery period for the courts or any hesitation in using fee-paid and deputy judges to fill any gaps which cannot be filled by the salaried judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Lord Justice Lindblom have revealed. “It is now all hands to...

Landlord fined £340,000 in 2017 is now fined another £150,000

02 Dec 2019 A rogue landlord has been fined more than £150,000 after failing to rectify safety hazards in a property he let. Two years ago Rehman was ordered to pay in excess of £340,000 after illegally converting houses into bedsits. A rogue landlord has been fined more than £150,000 after failing to rectify safety hazards in a property he let. Latif Rehman of Birmingham was fined a total of...

Landlord without HMO licence fined £20,000

A £20,000 fine has been handed to a landlord and his managing agent for failing to secure a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence for their three-storey property. After its community safety team received complaints about waste storage and nuisance behaviour, Barnet Council discovered 13 tenants living in the house, which is in Edgware. An eight-month-old baby was found living with a couple...

Stevenage BTL investor fined for attic room

A Stevenage buy to let investment landlord has been prosecuted for letting out an unsuitable attic room ignoring a council prohibition order. Stevenage Borough Council had made a prohibition order in November 2014 under the Housing Act 2004, prohibiting the occupation of the attic room at a property in The Noke, Stevenage. The council made the prohibition order due to the works completed to...

£30,000 fine for lack of safe fire escape route – as resident hangs off guttering to save his life

A resident was found standing on a windowsill hanging from guttering and had to be rescued by firefighters. This was because he was unable to access any emergency escape route during the fire due to inadequate fire precautions. These were problems that would have been identified if the management company had undertaken a Fire Risk Assessment. Management company Harper Stone Properties Ltd has...

Speed cameras being used by Councils to create revenue new report – just like property licensing & Landlord Fines

16 Jul 2020 In a report by the Inspectorate of Police and Fire Services they accuse Safety Camera Partnerships (dominated by local authorities) of being cynical and putting cameras to generate revenue and not to save lives. What landlords need to know is that this is exactly what Local Authorities are doing in the housing sector with Licensing and...

Mandatory Electrical Test (EICR) before you can let any property will be Law very soon

14 Jan 2020 By Giles Parker of Nearly Legal. The draft of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 has been laid in Parliament. The regs require a resolution of each house, so this will not be an immediate approval, but should be soon – it looks like the intention is for the Regs to be in force from 1 April 2020. From the draft, there will be a...

Court puts Charge on Landlord’s Property for £37,000 unpaid Civil Penalty

12 Dec 2019 An unlicensed landlord who let out rooms with dangerous electrics and refused to pay a civil fine, has been told he must pay the fine before he can sell the property. Slough council took a civil case against the landlord due to the dangerous standard of living conditions in the Home of Multiple Occupancy. A £37,000 penalty charge notice was issued in June this year due to a breach of...

London landlord gets eye-watering £450,000 fine

Beds in Sheds: Samina Nadeem, of Malborough Road, Southall who had refused to demolish her “beds in sheds” after repeated warnings from the council, now faces a record fine of nearly £450,000 or 4 years in prison. An Ealing councillor described Nadeem as “obstructive and aggressive” and housing her tenants in “Dickensian” conditions. Nadeem had had repeated warnings from the council but still...

Landlord fined £7,400 as council secures 125th prosecution against rogue operators

A buy-to-let landlord has been ordered to pay £7,400 after failing to obtain a license to rent out a property in North West London. The unlicensed two-bedroom flat in Tunley Road, Harlesden, which would have cost £340 for a five-year selective licence, came to the attention of enforcement officers after the family complained to the council about their broken boiler. The landlord, Errol Roy...

Just Move Estates fined £10k for failing to install smoke alarms in rented house in Leyton

Just Move Estates in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, had claimed that tenants removed three smoke alarms from the house on Melford Road, Leyton, but upon inspection, council officers found no evidence they were ever installed. They were fined by Waltham Forest Council, using powers from the Housing & Planning Act. The council issued a civil penalty against Just Move Estates, which the company...

Leeds landlord has been fined for renting out this mouldy, unsafe house

2 May 2019 A woman living in this dangerously maintained house in Chapeltown has been awarded compensation after her landlord was taken to court. Andrew Watson, of Harehills Avenue in Chapeltown, was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay victim compensation of £1,000 after he repeatedly ignored legal notices served by Leeds City Council regarding the condition of a house he was renting out on Hill Top...

Landlord and Agent fined for 32 occupants in 2 bed flat

The managing director of a letting agency and the Landlord of a two-bedroom flat where an unbelievable 32 people were found to be living have been fined, along with the agency itself. Altogether they have been ordered to pay a remarkably low £30,000. However, as this was a criminal prosecution in court rather than civil financial penalties it is normal for the fines to be lower because the...

Landlord hit with £66,000 bill after sending in heavies to kick tenant out

27 Jun 2019 A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay a £60,170 fine and £6,000 court costs after being found guilty of making tenants’ lives a misery. The fine is the biggest financial penalty that Brent Council in London has secured to date. The council says it is a reflection of the “truly appalling conditions” tenants were living in. Hugo Pulqueiro sent in the heavies to remove the belongings...

Worthing landlord fined £22,000 for renting out unlicensed HMO

Worthing Borough Council found five people living in dangerous conditions in the property. The flat in Heene Road, Worthing, did not have suitable fire detection, and fire doors to individual rooms had not been installed. There was also no safe fire escape route and the condition of the stairs meant that access was hazardous. As required by law, the landlord had also failed to get a licence for...

Landlords: Protect Yourself against 10 Million New Housing Inspectors

Seminar: What EVERY Landlord needs to know about avoiding massive fines and 'ambulance chasers'. Full day in-depth seminar. Thursday, 5 September '19   12pm - 6pm London SW1 Book tickets here On 20th March this year the Government appointed 10 MILLION new housing inspectors. They are not employed. They are on commission for getting Landlords sued. Which means they are highly...

Rent Repayment Order £12,025 for Rent-to-Rent Flat in London SE10

15 July 2019 Case summary by Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing and Defence. A rent-to-rent company fined £12,025 including costs by way of Rent Repayment Order in addition to £5,000 Civil Penalty Fine for failing to Licence the property which had become an HMO through sub-letting via a rent-to-rent company. The Landlord and owner of the leasehold flat (Mr E.) had let the flat through a letting...

‘Landlord in Crisis’ Cases Last Week

23 Jun 2020 The last two weeks has been hectic and often people see what we publish and ask what exactly do we do? Well here is the first half covering just some of the things we have covered in the last two weeks, no day is ever boring and it is a long read and these cases are all landlords just like you: Landlords and COVID-19 Covid-19 has meant much more enforcement action against landlords...

Mould in Northwich flat leaves landlord with £2,500 fine

A LANDLORD has been fined almost £2,500 after a Northwich flat tenant complained of excessive mould and a front door they could not close. Nicholas Ian Shaw, 47 and from Norbury's Yard, Knutsford, was convicted at Chester Magistrates Court on Thursday, August 9, after failing to comply with an improvement notice. Mr Shaw had rented out a Victorian terrace flat in Huxley Street to a young family...

And this is why Landlords have a bad name

29 Jul 2019 Announcement follows an investigation and police action into the notorious landlords and businessmen. The landlord business of father and son Salvatore and Robert Lopresti is subject to an “urgent” investigation by the council’s housing enforcement team. The announcement follows an investigation into the family ice cream and property rental businesses that resulted in a police...

Civil penalty notices served on landlords who cannot be named

11 Sep 2020 Two landlords have been served with civil penalty notices for operating unlicensed HMOs.  The notices were from Wellingborough council; one was for £6,000 and the other for £8,250. Details of the individuals and properties cannot be disclosed as the penalties are civil sanctions, not criminal, however the council confirms that both landlords were operating licensable HMOs...

Airbnb host fined £100,000 for letting council flat

30 Jul 2019 An Airbnb host who rented out his central London council flat to tourists has been fined £100,000 and evicted. Council tenant Toby Harman, 37, created the fake identity "Lara" on Airbnb to rent out his studio apartment. The flat, in Victoria, had been advertised since 2013 and received more than 300 reviews, Westminster City Council said. Anti-fraud software had found Harman's first...

Dawn raid finds 17 tenants crammed into sub-let HMO

29 Nov 2019 A dawn raid by enforcement officers from a London council has discovered 17 men sleeping on mattresses in a three bedroom Home in Multiple Occupation. The raid followed a tip-off about a suspected unlicensed HMO. A statement from Brent council says the men were paying £50 a week to a head tenant in exchange for accommodation which was described by the local authority as “overcrowded,...

Angry landlord chucks council safety inspector down the stairs in bid to thwart property inspection

13 Jun 2019 He also grabbed him in a bear hug. A landlord in Lincoln grabbed a council worker and pushed him down the stairs in a bid to stop him inspecting his property, a court heard. Brian Goodwin was unhappy after two City of Lincoln Council private housing officers called to carry out a safety inspection on the home he owns in Union Road in July 2018. The two workers were doing the checks...

“Screw your Landlord” Westminster City Council launches online tool encouraging HMO Tenants to claim Rent Repayment Orders

In a move designed to punish as many landlords as possible with crucifying Rent Repayment Orders of up to 12 months rent, City of Westminster has launched a "find out of you can screw your landlord" tool on their website. They are obviously using this 'hook' to get tenants to grass-up landlords who have not paid their 'licence tax'. Cynically, It has everything to do with punishing landlords for...

Fourth conviction for rogue Beeston landlord

25 Nov 2019 Landlord Jack Collins of Woodlea Road, Yeadon, has been hit with court fines for a fourth time for failing to properly manage his rental properties. On 18 November 2019, Mr Collins was found guilty and ordered to pay £25,324.60 within two months for failing to maintain a property on Sefton Terrace, Beeston. Mr Collins had denied exposing vulnerable tenants to sub-standard housing...

Slum landlord family must pay £250k under crime proceeds act

Harsha, Chandni and Sanjay Shah crammed 31 tenants into four-bedroom Wembley house A family of slum landlords who crammed 31 people into a suburban four-bedroom house has been ordered to pay back almost £250,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The landlords were earning more than £100,000 a year from the enterprise, which involved squeezing tenants on “sleeping shifts” into rooms fitted with up...

Rogue landlord fined as council clamps down on ‘unacceptable living conditions’

"I hope this sends a clear message - we want to clamp down on unacceptable living conditions." A landlord has been fined for his failure to have a licence in place for the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Barnstaple which he owns and manages. Mr Franco Capocci was found guilty on 31 July at North and East Devon Magistrates Court of failing to obtain a licence in relation to The Gables at 4...

Landlords prosecuted after flouting licensing laws in Gainsborough

Three landlords have been prosecuted for licensing offences in Gainsborough. Collectively the landlords, who all live outside of the West Lindsey area, were ordered to pay fines, costs and victim surcharges totalling more than £6,000. They all pleaded guilty to selective licensing offences during a hearing Lincoln Magistrates Court on June 4. Coun Sheila Bibb, chairman of the prosperous...

Landlord handed two-year ban and £41k bill for putting tenants’ lives at risk

A man who rented out rooms above a town centre bar has been banned from being a landlord after putting the lives of his tenants at risk. Dean Dunkley, 41, of Dunchurch Road in Rugby, has also been ordered to pay more than £41,000 in legal costs by the magistrates after he was found guilty of a number of offences. The prosecution was brought by Rugby Borough Council after several inspections of...

Landlords fined £3,800 in council’s first rented homes licensing prosecution

A council’s first prosecution over HMO licenses cost two landlords nearly £4,000. Appearing at Worcester Magistrates Court, Bing Wang and Yan Shao, were both convicted of renting out an unlicensed HMO to students when the property did not meet key safety standards. Wang and Shao were ordered to pay over £3,800 in fines and costs. The case was the first prosecution brought by Worcester City...

Tribunal Tells Coventry City Council that £31,499 Landlord Penalty is ’not in any way reasonable’ and slashes it to £3,300

24 Oct 2019 In the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) the Landlord Mr Tan Sandhu appealed against a fixed penalty of £24,649 (initially £31,499) imposed by Coventry City Council for breaches of the Housing Act 2004. Reviewing the Tribunal’s decision, Phil Turtle, compliance consultant with Landlord Licensing and Defence said “Whilst we cannot condone a landlord not knowing and / or failing...

Landlord fined for failure to comply

21 Jan 2020 A buy-to-let landlord has been ordered to pay more than £2,000 after ignoring several requests to carry out important repairs to a property in Bridlington, Yorkshire.  David Christlow, of Prospect Street in Bridlington, was fined a total of £2,000, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and full costs of £2,282.93 after pleading guilty at Beverley Magistrates’ Court to...

Bristol landlord £5000 Rent Repayment Order

24 Jun 2020 Two Bristol landlords have been ordered to repay nearly £5,000 following investigations by the council’s so called rogue landlord unit. One, Lucy Sherry, was found to have breached the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.  She was found to have harassed her tenants, and did so with reasonable cause to believe that her conduct would lead to the tenants giving up occupation of the...

Landlord fined for failing to make safety improvements

A landlord who failed to comply with an Improvement Notice and carry out essential repairs to his property was ordered to pay fines and costs of almost £800 following an investigation by Harrogate Borough Council. Private landlord Damian John Green, of Heather Lea Avenue in Sheffield, failed to carry out the required works to his rental property on Robert Street, Harrogate, within the agreed...

Landlord hit with huge fine after council uncovers astonishing web of lies

10 May 2019 A rogue landlady has been hit with a fine of £24,000 after conning her tenants and the local authorities with a complex web of lies. Diana Thompson was taken to task by Brent Council and prosecuted for failure to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and failure to comply with fire safety regulations. Thompson convinced tenants living in her unlicensed, detached two-storey HMO...

Special Offer £71,600 – Rogue Landlord Special

A new case just in. A new slant on property investment: Here we have a landlord with a 6 Bed HMO in the Northern Home Counties.  This case is a cookie-cutter duplicate based on a pattern we are seeing on a week in, week out, basis. It starts with a Council realising that there is a property on their patch which might be an unlicensed HMO. They then go into overdrive. The format is usually a...

Landlord punished over safety case

21 Jan 2013 A LANDLORD risked his own tenants' lives by allowing them to stack furniture on a staircase. He has now been prosecuted by the city council for failing to keep the fire escape of his Chorlton property clear. The council decided to take legal action after making a number of visits to Alan Selkirk's property on Oswald Road. Manchester Magistrates Court heard that between September and...

£140,000 in fines for buy to let couple failing to maintain properties

29 Aug 2019 A husband and wife pair of buy to let investors have been prosecuted after letting out a property that contained serious hazards and defects. Hamedur Choudhury and his wife Roshon let out two flats and staff accommodation above a restaurant in East Grinstead. Environmental health officers from Mid Sussex council inspected the property 18 months ago and discovered serious issues...

Court fines Landlord £26,000 for rats and cockroaches in un-declared HMO

22 Jul 2020 A pregnant woman was among nine people put “at risk” by their landlords, who allowed their tenants’ home to become infested with rats and cockroaches. Barnet Council says its enforcement officers found a “severe cockroach infestation” at 80 Highfield Avenue in Golders Green, Barnet, while the stairs and flooring had been “partially eaten by rats”. Officers also...

Council boasts of issuing 133 penalty notices and 23 improvement notices

02 Jul 2019 A London council wants to extend its private rental sector licensing scheme - and in doing so is boasting of the number of notices it’s so far issued against landlords. Havering council has begun a consultation looking at extending its scheme, launched initially in March 2018. As part of the publicity promoting its extension, the council says it has issued 133 financial penalty...

Essex ‘Accidental Landlord’ stung with £3,500 rent repayment order

05 Dec 2019 Assisted by a no-win, no-fee organisation the tenant, a former acquaintance of the landlord’s daughter – to whom the accidental landlord had let the property on reduced rent-terms as a favour because of their acquaintanceship as teachers who worked together. In his finding regarding the property in Chadwell Heath, Romford, Judge Nichols of the First Tier Tribunal (property chamber)...

Record £20,000 fine for unlicensed landlord with 62 properties

Local man Charles Baker is to pay fine and costs after failing to gain relevant licences from Rent Smart Wales. A Welsh landlord with 62 apartments within 16 rented properties has been fined a record £20,000 for failing to obtain a licence from Rent Smart Wales to operate them. Charles Baker of Cyncoed Road, Cyncoed, Cardiff was found guilty at the city’s Magistrates Court and will now have to...

Housing Act 2004 Section 249A and Schedule 13A

If you’ve just searched for this term, then the chances are very high that you’ve received a letter from your Council’s Housing Enforcement Officer similar to the ones in the photo.

It means that your Council Housing department have already decided that you are guilty without trial of Criminal Acts in relation to The Housing Act 2004 and related Regulations. Often they do not have enough evidence. But most landlords don’t understand the danger they are in and happily give the Council more and more evidence with which to prosecute them.

**Do not attempt to discuss your letter on notice with anyone at the Council before you take professional advice.**

Why?

Because, just like the police when suspecting someone of a serious crime, their only interest now is to get you to self-incriminate so that they can substantiate their “Guilty” decision and can then proceed to extract many £1,000s from you by way of Civil Financial Penalty Fines or take you to Criminal Court.

You would not phone up the police for a bit of a chat to explain why you thought it was ok to drive at 105 miles per hour. You would not dream of giving them all the evidence thy need to prosecute you without having professional representation.  In exactly the same way, to avoid giving the Council all the evidence they need to prosecute or fine you.

And we hate to say it, but you probably are guilty. It is extremely easy to be guilty of offences under the Housing Act(s). 

Click here to get help ASAP

Failure to apply for an HMO or Selective Licence

Many councils’ favourite ‘crime’ is that of failing to apply for an HMO or Selective Licence.

They will raid a house that they think *might* be a licensable HMO of 5 persons under that Mandatory HMO Licensing legislation (or 3 if they have an Additional Licensing Scheme in operation) and they only have to suspect there could be a fifth person living there that you’re probably not even aware of.

Quite often it’s just a visiting girl or boyfriend – but that’s enough for them to throw the book at you.

And throwing the book at you is exactly what they will do because they will set out to find you in breach of ALL of these ‘relevant housing offences’ under Section 249A:

Many councils’ favourite ‘crime’ is that of failing to apply for an HMO or Selective Licence. They will raid a house that they think *might* be a licensable HMO of 5 persons under that Mandatory HMO Licensing legislation (or 3 if they have an Additional Licensing Scheme in operation) and they only have to *suspect* there could be a fifth person living there that you’re probably not even aware of. Quite often it’s just a visiting girl or boyfriend – but that’s enough for them to throw the book at you.

And throwing the book at you is exactly what they will do because they will set out to find you in breach of ALL of these ‘relevant housing offences’ under Section 249A:

  • Housing Act 2004 Section 30 – failure to comply with an improvement notice
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 72 – failure to licence an HMO
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 95 – failure to licence a house under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 (i.e. failure to apply for a Selective Licence)
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 139(7) – failure to comply with an overcrowding notice
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 237 – failure under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations (England) 2006 including (and they usually create a separate Civil Penalty for each of these that they can get you on):
    • Regulation 3 – failure to display the managers full details prominently in the HMO
    • Regulation 4 – failure of the manager to take safety measures
    • Regulation 5 – failure of the manager to maintain water supply and drainage
    • Regulation 6 – failure of the manager to supply and maintain gas and electricity
    • Regulation 7 – failure of the manager to maintain the common parts, fixtures fittings and appliances
    • Regulation 8 – failure of the manager to maintain living accommodation
    • Regulation 9 – failure to provide (adequate) waste disposal facilities

Usually by the time they have totted up all this lot, a Landlord of a single house can be staring £20,000 to £50,000 of Civil Penalty Fines in the face.

Click here to get help ASAP

Not Fit and Proper Person

 

 

But that is not all. The chances are very high that they will continue after issuing this letter to declare you to be a Not Fit and Proper Person to hold a licence – they will do this by refusing to grant a licence for your property in your name. If you have other licenced properties they will often issue a Notice to Revoke licences.

 

Councils can completely destroy your business.

 

And just for good measure, many councils’ not only make your tenants aware that they can reclaim up to 12 months’ rent from you because you didn’t have a licence when you should have had one. Many Councils even help tenants to fill in the forms.

 

Click here to get help ASAP

PACE inverview under caution

If you see ‘helpful’ words in the letter like

“If you would like a meeting to discuss the proposed financial penalty before making your representations,
then please contact the xxxxx team so arrangements can be made to meet at the Town/City Hall”

Do NOT make any such arrangements. This is a trick to get you to attend a PACE (Police And Criminal Evidence ACT) interview under caution.

The sole purpose of which is to trick you into self-incrimination 

Click here to get help ASAP

 Get Help ASAP

If you’ve received one of these Housing Act Section 249A and Schedule 13A: Financial Penalties letters you need to act fast because you have very little time before the fines are imposed.

 Click here to get help ASAP

Engage immediate help from experts in Housing Act Legislation and Regulation like ourselves at Landlord Licensing and Defence.

Don’t think that you will be able to get these fines dropped. There is a very low chance of that. As we said above, it’s very easy for a council enforcement officer to find you guilty and you are Guilty until Proven Innocent.

However, what can be done – and we achieve this on a weekly basis – is for us as your representative to negotiate the level of fines with your council. We can do this because we know the legislation and we know from experience HOW to negotiate.

And remember our discussions with the Council do not incriminate you. If you think you can negotiate with them yourself you are totally wrong. Because everything you say can and will be used against you in evidence.

If the is Council declaring you a Not Fit and Proper Person and refusing or withdrawing license we can find solutions that the council will accept  that can save your business from ruin.

Don’t delay – contact us immediately for the help you need.  Time is absolutely of the essence.

Click here to get help ASAP

Success Stories

Breaches of planning, overcrowding and licensing: all sorted with no casualties!

21 Oct 2019 Fantastic Morning, taking back a house for a long-established client from a company who had rented it for subletting, not telling the letting agent nor the landlord. None of the employees on the agreement ever lived there, last year it was found to be overcrowded with 10 occupants on a house only supposed to have 5 occupants and they had created a self-contained unit too. Breaches of...

Fire Alarm Manufacturer tells engineer to put tenants lives at risk

By Des Taylor 15 May 2019 One of Landlords Defence’s clients had an inconceivable situation yesterday with a major manufacturer of interconnected smoke and heat detector fire alarm units. Our client had found problems some days ago with the units not working properly on test and had the manufacturer sent some replacements via the post, (reassuring the client that although the faulty ones were...

Letting agent gives illegal HMO advice

16 May 2019 PLEASE SHARE WIDELY Des Taylor here.  I’ve just been working with a letting agent for a client and found the letting agent had a clear misunderstanding of what constitutes a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation). HMO is formed "when two or more households* occupy a dwelling and the number of occupants is three or more, then a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is formed. *...

Putney – An Unexpected Solution

A Landlord had purchased a property and wanted to know how to turn it into a HMO and operate it legally as serviced accommodation. It was an ex-council terraced property.   Turning it into a HMO had not been an issue, however the quality of works which had been undertaken to do so was incredibly bad and would not pass regulations under any circumstances. This owner had not been paying proper...

Letting Agent held to account by Landlords Defence

19 Jun 2019 11th June saw, for us, the first evidence of the Tenant Fee Ban (TFB) being misunderstood and a residential tenant being charged a £1000 holding deposit on a £1100 per calendar month rental starting 22nd June. On speaking with the tenants’ representative, consulting with the agent indirectly as a secret shopper, to confirm their misunderstanding, we engaged the tenant with the local...

Kedleston Road

Handled negotiations for the Client, a Tenant Company where the Letting Agent (as they so often do) was wrongly insistent on using an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, which was the incorrect agreement and not fit for purpose. (An AST is for individuals and not for Companies it is Housing Act 1.1 a. One ought to be able to expect better from Letting Agents!) Protracted negotiations, as we discovered as...

Liverpool Council hands out 2,000 legal notices, 154 cautions, 89 civil penalty notices and 159 prosecutions

11 Apr 2019 A council has revealed the squalid conditions its inspectors have found when visiting rental properties as it looks to extend its landlord licensing scheme. Liverpool City Council has operated a city-wide selective licensing scheme since April 2015 but is now looking to extend it for five years when it expires in March 2020. Council officials say more rogue landlords have been...

Brentford Developer

A property developer had decided to change a three-bed semi-detached house into a 6 bedroom all en-suite HMO. Initially we inspected the property at purchase and contributed to best practice and design aspects to comply with planning use under permitted development and HMO Licensing.  As an expense saver and ongoing economy we suggested the removal of gas at the property and use of...

Solihull HMO

The property owner had owned the property for 20 years or so and two years previously had rented it to a corporation that had put 5 occupants into the property. From the 1st October 2018, all properties with 5 occupants, not all related, were required to have a Mandatory HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) Licence applied for by that date.  The corporation had agreed that it would carry out the...

West London Company Let

The client was renting the residential property to a Company who help vulnerable young adults and was trying to ascertain if the property needed a licence. His tenant was a corporate company which was providing an immigrant orientation service and also providing their living accommodation.  On contacting us he had attempted to connect with the local Council a number of times to no response. ...

Kingston Prohibition Order

Defending a Prohibition Notice for both the Owner and the Subletting Landlord and replacing the subletting Landlord with a more suitable fit and proper Landlord in order to have the prohibition order withdrawn The owner is an elderly man and his daughter was dealing with the property and had let it to a subletting Company who was the Subletting (Rent to Rent) Landlord. The Owner and Subletting...

Newark and Sherwood

Prepared contractual agreement for the lease of residential property to be used for serviced accommodation. Defending landlord against Planning Contravention Notice issued by the Council for alleged change of use from C3 to Sui Generis without permission. Defended landlord against council allegation that Building Regulations had been contravened. Defended landlord against Environmental Health...

Epsom Emergency Licence Application

It was 30th September 2018 at 4pm. This is highly significant because it was just 8 hours before new HMO licensing deadline of 1st October 2018. If an HMO application was not properly lodged by that deadline, significant Civil Penalty fines could apply. While the team was doing a HMO licence application on another property for this Landlord, he suddenly had the realisation that a house he was...

20 Properties. No selective Licences.

A Landlord in the North West had been very ill and hadn’t been able to deal with the requirements of a Selective Licencing scheme introduced by his Local Authority and which affected 20 properties in his portfolio. The deadline was looming and he was unable to take action. We negotiated an extension of the deadline because of his illness and the fact that he had now appointed us to organise and...

The Legal Stuff

 

 

Housing Act 2004 Section 249A Financial penalties for certain housing offences in England

(1) The local housing authority may impose a financial penalty on a person if satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the person’s conduct amounts to a relevant housing offence in respect of premises in England.

(2) In this section “relevant housing offence” means an offence under—

(a) section 30 (failure to comply with improvement notice),

(b) section 72 (licensing of HMOs),

(c) section 95 (licensing of houses under Part 3),

(d) section 139(7) (failure to comply with overcrowding notice), or

(e) section 234 (management regulations in respect of HMOs).

(3) Only one financial penalty under this section may be imposed on a person in respect of the same conduct.

(4) The amount of a financial penalty imposed under this section is to be determined by the local housing authority, but must not be more than £30,000.

(5) The local housing authority may not impose a financial penalty in respect of any conduct amounting to a relevant housing offence if—

(a) the person has been convicted of the offence in respect of that conduct, or

(b) criminal proceedings for the offence have been instituted against the person in respect of the conduct and the proceedings have not been concluded.

(6) Schedule 13A deals with—

(a) the procedure for imposing financial penalties,

(b) appeals against financial penalties,

(c) enforcement of financial penalties, and

(d) guidance in respect of financial penalties.

(7) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about how local housing authorities are to deal with financial penalties recovered.

(8) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend the amount specified in subsection (4) to reflect changes in the value of money.

(9) For the purposes of this section a person’s conduct includes a failure to act.

 

Housing Act 2004 Schedule 13A Financial penalties under section 249A

Notice of intent

1 Before imposing a financial penalty on a person under section 249A the local housing authority must give the person notice of the authority’s proposal to do so (a “notice of intent”).

2(1) The notice of intent must be given before the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the first day on which the authority has sufficient evidence of the conduct to which the financial penalty relates.

2(2) But if the person is continuing to engage in the conduct on that day, and the conduct continues beyond the end of that day, the notice of intent may be given—

(a) at any time when the conduct is continuing, or

(b) within the period of 6 months beginning with the last day on which the conduct occurs.

2(3) For the purposes of this paragraph a person’s conduct includes a failure to act.

3 The notice of intent must set out—

(a) the amount of the proposed financial penalty,

(b) the reasons for proposing to impose the financial penalty, and

(c) information about the right to make representations under paragraph 4.

Right to make representations

4(1) A person who is given a notice of intent may make written representations to the local housing authority about the proposal to impose a financial penalty.

4(2) Any representations must be made within the period of 28 days beginning with the day after that on which the notice was given (“the period for representations”). 

Final notice

5 After the end of the period for representations the local housing authority must—

(a) decide whether to impose a financial penalty on the person, and

(b) if it decides to impose a financial penalty, decide the amount of the penalty.

6 If the authority decides to impose a financial penalty on the person, it must give the person a notice (a “final notice”) imposing that penalty.

7 The final notice must require the penalty to be paid within the period of 28 days beginning with the day after that on which the notice was given.

8 The final notice must set out—

(a) the amount of the financial penalty,

(b) the reasons for imposing the penalty,

(c) information about how to pay the penalty,

(d) the period for payment of the penalty,

(e) information about rights of appeal, and

(f) the consequences of failure to comply with the notice.

Withdrawal or amendment of notice

9(1) A local housing authority may at any time—

(a) withdraw a notice of intent or final notice, or

(b) reduce the amount specified in a notice of intent or final notice.

9(2) The power in sub-paragraph (1) is to be exercised by giving notice in writing to the person to whom the notice was given. 

Appeals

10(1) A person to whom a final notice is given may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against—

(a) the decision to impose the penalty, or

(b) the amount of the penalty.

10(2) If a person appeals under this paragraph, the final notice is suspended until the appeal is finally determined or withdrawn.

10(3) An appeal under this paragraph—

(a) is to be a re-hearing of the local housing authority’s decision, but

(b) may be determined having regard to matters of which the authority was unaware.

10(4) On an appeal under this paragraph the First-tier Tribunal may confirm, vary or cancel the final notice.

10(5) The final notice may not be varied under sub-paragraph (4) so as to make it impose a financial penalty of more than the local housing authority could have imposed.

Recovery of financial penalty

11(1) This paragraph applies if a person fails to pay the whole or any part of a financial penalty which, in accordance with this Schedule, the person is liable to pay.

11(2) The local housing authority which imposed the financial penalty may recover the penalty or part on the order of the county court as if it were payable under an order of that court.

11(3) In proceedings before the county court for the recovery of a financial penalty or part of a financial penalty, a certificate which is—

(a) signed by the chief finance officer of the local housing authority which imposed the penalty, and

(b) states that the amount due has not been received by a date specified in the certificate,

is conclusive evidence of that fact.

11(4) A certificate to that effect and purporting to be so signed is to be treated as being so signed unless the contrary is proved.

11(5) In this paragraph “chief finance officer” has the same meaning as in section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

Guidance

12 A local housing authority must have regard to any guidance given by the Secretary of State about the exercise of its functions under this Schedule or section 249A.

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