A west London property company managing an HMO in Notting Hill has been fined £47,900 in relation to 24 charges under the Housing Act 2004 after council officers found numerous breaches of regulations ranging from a faulty smoke detector to unsafe banisters.
AAA London Property Limited of 37 Warren Street London W1T entered guilty pleas to 13 of the charges at an earlier hearing and was subsequently found guilty of the remaining 11 charges after trial.
The company’s director, Jagjit Kaur, who lives in the US, was fined £21,870 in relation to 16 charges under the Housing Act 2004. Kaur had entered guilty pleas to nine of the charges at an earlier hearing and she was subsequently found guilty of the remaining seven charges after trial which was heard by City of London Magistrates' Court on 12 February.
AAA London Property Limited and Jagjit Kaur were prosecuted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in relation to offences at 14-16 Clanricarde Gardens, W2.
Both were charged with failing to comply with a Prohibiton Order made under the Housing Act 2004 prohibiting the use of one of the rooms as living accommodation, breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and failure to produce tenancy agreements under section 235 of the Housing Act 2004.
Both the company and Kaur disputed the need to provide tenancy agreements to the council citing that they would be in breach of the Data Protection Act. They also disputed that a sink in one of the rooms was blocked on the day a council officer visited and that the smoke alarms were incorrectly installed. Kaur’s defence argued that someone else was managing the property.
Magistrates heard that 14-16 Clanricarde Gardens is a six-storey HMO that had been converted into 35 lettings, in which approximately 45 tenants lived. However, the council produced a copy of the HMO application form which confirmed that AAA London Property Limited was the licence holder and Kaur the manager with responsibility.
The court took into account the early guilty pleas by AAA London Property Limited and Kaur, as well as their good character. Accordingly, the magistrates imposed a reduction to the financial penalty in relation to those specific charges.
Cllr Rock Feilding-Mellen, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s cabinet member for housing said: “Councils have a duty to ensure that licensed HMOs are fit for the number of occupiers. The purpose of the licensing requirements is to enable local authorities to ensure that HMOs are safe, have adequate facilities for the occupiers and are properly managed.
“It is very important that, when faced with landlords who are not adhering to the appropriate regulations and licensing conditions, we take all necessary action to ensure that tenants are protected and that the properties they live in meet all legal requirements. In this case both the company and its director failed to meet the minimum standards and their responsibilities as a landlord so I am very pleased that the court has handed down these fines.”
As well as being fined, AAA London Property Limited and Kaur were ordered to pay the council’s costs of £7,709.75 and both had to pay a victim surcharge of £120.