Waltham Forest landlord fined £20,000 for failing to license his properties

Friday, February 19th, 2016 - Waltham Forest Council

William Lao, 48, of Webster Road, Leyton, has been prosecuted by Waltham Forest Council after failing to license his rented properties under their selective licensing scheme.

On Friday 5 February, Mr Lao, a commercial landlord who owns 16 properties in the borough, pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to licence his rented homes. He was fined a total of £20,000 by Thames Magistrates Court and ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of over £2,000.

The offences related to a failure to licence two properties located in Frith Road and Grove Green Road in Leyton. Both houses were let out as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to a number of different families.

Councillor Khevyn Limbajee, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

This is not the first time Mr Lao has fallen foul of the law and we have had to put matters before the courts in order to hold him to account for his actions.

Almost exactly a year ago he was hit with court fines and costs of over £300,000 after he made extensions and alterations to various properties without being granted planning permission.

On that occasion in addition to the financial penalty, all of the works carried out to his properties had to be demolished and the properties returned to their original condition.

It goes to show that rogue landlords simply can’t get away with it – not in this borough where we have a landlord licensing system in place, not just for HMOs, but for all private rented property.

Since prosecution proceedings were instigated against Mr Lao by the Council, he has applied for the necessary licences. This licensing process will allow the Council to ensure that the addresses meet the necessary safety standards and are not overcrowded.

However, because Mr Lao has previous convictions for planning and housing breaches, he will not be able to have direct control over the management and letting of his rented properties under licensing provisions.

More information about property licensing requirements in Waltham Forest are available at, or by visiting the council’s website.