Financial penalties of over £34,000 upheld following appeals by two Ilford landlords
Two east London landlords have been stung with civil penalties of more than £34,000 for operating unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) and breaching the HMO Management Regulations.
Both cases were heard at the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) in central London after the landlords appealed against financial penalties imposed by Redbridge Council.
Residents complained that rented property being used as a brothel
The first case related to a property in Hamilton Road, Ilford. Local residents had complained it was being operating as a brothel, was overcrowded and tenants were committing anti-social behaviour.
Council officers visited in June 2019 and found the property was being occupied as an HMO with five tenants occupying four individual lettings. Officers had serious concerns about fire safety and the property’s overall management. Following an investigation, council officers discovered Woodland Properties Management Ltd from Leyton had leased the property from the freeholder.
The council issued penalties of £23,500, including:
- £10,000 for operating an unlicensed HMO
- £10,000 for fire safety failings
- £2,500 for failing to display the manager’s details in the property
- £1,000 for failing to provide waste disposal facilities
Having considered all the evidence, the Tribunal dismissed the appeal and upheld the penalties in full. Case ref: LON/00BC/HNA/2019/0160 – 0164.
Lack of smoke detection put tenants at risk
In a separate hearing, Shaista Habib of Coleridge Avenue London E12 6RQ was issued with financial penalties for operating an unlicensed HMO, including three breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. The property in Mayfair Avenue, Ilford, was found to have serious failings concerning fire safety and the property’s overall management.
Housing Officers discovered several fire safety risks including no smoke detectors in any of the rooms accessed on the ground floor and the first floor and bedroom doors did not meet safety standards and were not self-closing.
The door locks were not appropriate for fire safety purposes, and there was only a single fire extinguisher for the entire property.
The landlord appealed against the financial penalty to the First-tier Tribunal. In deciding the appeal, the Tribunal ruled there were several significant breaches concerning safety measures and upheld a penalty of £11,250.
The Leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal, said:
“These hefty fines should serve as a warning to those unscrupulous landlords who think they can profiteer by cutting corners.
“I’m pleased the First-Tier Tribunal recognised the severity of the breaches of regulations and the impact these have had on local people.
“We will continue to penalise those in the private rental sector who want to make a quick buck at the expense of tenants’ health and safety, while also causing anti-social behaviour problems for their neighbours.“
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