Landlord who failed to license three properties in Brent at a cost of £1,620 has been ordered to pay £90,000 penalty
In what could be one of the highest fines for failing to submit selective licence applications, a Brent landlord has been handed £90,000 in fines and court costs after repeatedly ignoring the need to get his private rented properties licensed.
Stephen Ige pleaded guilty in Willesden Magistrate Court to knowingly renting out three properties to tenants without a licence; a ground floor flat in Chaplin Road, Willesden Green and ground and first floor flats in Douglas Road, Kilburn.
Applying to license the three private rented properties would have cost the landlord £1,620, as Brent Council charge a fixed application fee of £540 per property for up to five years.
However, on 28 January 2020, Ige was ordered by the court to pay a £25,000 fine for each of the unlicensed properties, £5,000 for failing to supply documents to the council when required to do so, and £10,763 in court costs to the council, totalling £90,863 including a victim surcharge.
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform at Brent Council said:
“Renting out a property is a serious business and in Brent we have introduced selective licensing to ensure that tenants are living in safe, well managed homes. Licensing does this by making sure properties are properly managed by a landlord or agent, setting standards that the landlord must meet for the benefit of the occupiers and the community in general.
“If you are a landlord in a selective licensing area, failing to licence your property puts you at risk of being prosecuted and fined. While the council did not identify any serious concerns with the current state of Mr Ige’s properties, our licensing scheme is designed to give tenants confidence that they are living in homes that are safe. Challenging landlords who don’t comply is a priority.“
In areas where selective licensing applies – currently the Dudden Hill, Kensal Green, Kilburn, Mapesbury and Queen’s Park wards – landlords must apply for a licence if they want to rent out their property. Following the success of the scheme in improving standards for private renters, Brent has applied to the government to extend the scheme to 13 other wards in the borough.
Mr Ige, who owns a number of properties in Brent, had previously been found to have illegally let out two other properties requiring licences. He was fined £5,000 and warned to make sure he applied for property licences where required, but continued to ignore the law and his responsibilities towards the safety of his tenants.
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the London Borough of Brent is available here.
For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.