Camden letting agents prosecuted for managing unlicensed HMOs
Two letting agents have recently been prosecuted and fined, as part of Camden Council’s ongoing action against those operating unlicensed houses of multiple occupation (HMO) in the borough.
On Thursday 3 May at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, Enjoy London Ltd and its Director, Mr Antonio Scarpignato (27) of Keighley Close, Holloway, pleaded guilty to operating unlicensed HMOs at Denton on Malden Crescent, and also at Alpha Court on Raglan Street. Enjoy London was fined £4,000 plus costs, and Mr Scarpignato was fined £2,000 plus costs.
Another letting agent based in Westminster was found guilty in his absence and fined £3,000 plus costs for also operating the unlicensed HMO at Alpha Court in the London Borough of Camden.
Acting on complaints from the tenants, enforcement officers from Camden Council carried out early morning visits to both properties and found that they had been sub-divided, creating small cramped rooms. There was also fire safety regulation breaches present at the Alpha Court flat with smoke alarms missing and the sub-division creating a potential fire trap.
Enjoy London Ltd and the letting agent were fined an additional £2,000 and £3,000 respectively in court for these management breaches – taking the total fines related to the two properties to £14,000.
A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is defined as a property occupied by three or more persons (including children) who form more than one household. This includes most buildings converted into self-contained flats.
All houses in multiple occupation (HMO) in Camden require a licence.
Richard Tacagni, MD, London Property Licensing commented:
“I find many letting agents still don’t appreciate that they are legally responsible if a rented property requires licensing, but no application has been submitted when the tenancy starts.
“Saying that they encouraged the landlord to apply is no defence. With the risk of a civil penalty up to £30,000 or criminal prosecution, I would encourage all agents to prioritise their licensing compliance activity“.
Our free guide to property licensing in Camden is available here.
For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.