Havering Council stepping up action against landlords of unlicensed HMOs

Saturday, October 27th, 2018 - Havering Council

Havering Council are stepping up enforcement action against landlords and agents who have failed to apply for a licence under the council’s additional licensing scheme that started on 1 March 2018.

The additional licensing scheme applies to all HMOs in the council wards of Brooklands, Elm Park, Gooshays, Harold Wood, Havering Park, Heaton, Mawneys, Pettits, Rainham & Wennington, Romford Town, South Hornchurch and Squirrels Heath.

Within that area, a licence is needed for all HMOs including shared houses and flats occupied by three or more people who are not all related.

Elsewhere in the borough, most HMOs occupied by five of more people need licensing under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. The restriction to properties that are three or more storeys in height was removed on 1 October.

Between March and September 2018, the council’s enforcement team has issued landlords and agents with 81 financial penalties with a total value of £261,750.

Since the licensing scheme started, they have also served nine housing enforcement notices to address poor housing standards and have received or approved 143 licence applications.

The council are reminding landlords who have not yet applied for a licence that they risk prosecution or a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if they fail to act.

On a visit to a property in Hornchurch recently, council officers found an unlicensed HMO in poor condition was found being let out to multiple families.

The three-bedroomed house had no heating, inadequate fire safety escape exits, faulty electrics and a staircase in dangerous condition amongst other areas that breached regulations.

Financial penalty notices were served on the property manager and the council officers have offered housing advice.

Councillor Viddy Persaud, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Safety, Havering Council said:

Our Landlord scheme is successfully rooting out those landlords that think they are above the law.

We won’t tolerate these landlords taking advantage of local families and individuals by providing overcrowded and poorly maintained HMO properties.

We also won’t stand for landlords not having the correct licences. Our officers will continue to be proactive to make sure tenants are living safely in private rented accommodation.

Landlords of HMOs that breach the regulations must be aware that we will use the strongest possible action against them.

For more information on property licensing rules in Havering, you can read our free guide, available here.

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