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Licensed homes reduces anti-social behaviour, claims councillor

There is a direct correlation between licensed rental properties and a reduction in anti-social behaviour, according to a north London based councillor.

Selective licensing schemes also help to improve safety levels as well as lead to a increase in ‘sustainable tenancies’, according to councillor Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing and welfare at Brent Council.

Some 101 criminal prosecutions have now been secured against landlords since the start of Brent Council’s enforcement crackdown, which Farah believes reflects the council’s zero tolerance policy towards rogue landlords.

Farah said: “We hope that more than 100 prosecutions against rogue landlords in Brent send a clear message that rented properties in the borough need the correct licence.

“There is a link between licenced properties and a reduction in anti-social behaviour as well as a rise in sustainable tenancies and an increase in safety.”

Brent Council’s latest prosecution was secured at Willesden Magistrates Court last week, where Arthur Zurvskij was found guilty of illegally subletting a five-bedroom house in Hanover Road, Willesden, to seven tenants.

Instead of securing a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence from Brent Council, Zurvskij, director of Skyline Property Management; a name he later changed to Enox UK Ltd - rented out the property from Ludlow Thompson letting agency.

The owner of the property, who lived in the United States and had legally handed over control of his property to Ludlow Thompson, believed that the property was being rented out by a single family.

During the trial, Willesden Magistrates Court also heard that Zurvskij had not sought written consent from the landlord to rent out the house to more than one household. He was ordered to pay £2,250 in fines, while his company, Enox UK Ltd, was handed a £8,000 fine.

A Brent enforcement officer said: “Breaching the law on HMO is very serious. If found guilty, the landlord or person in charge of the property is left with a criminal record. The potential fines are now unlimited.

“This case should send out a warning to all landlords or companies subletting properties without the correct licence. If you are renting out a property to three or more people who are not all related, you need a HMO licence. It doesn't matter if the property is in good condition, you still need a licence.” 

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