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Property manager hit with £10,500 fine for unlicensed HMO

A company and the manager of a house of multiple occupation (HMO) in South Hampstead, north-west London, have been hit with a hefty fine following legal proceedings brought by the Camden Council.

Manager of the property, Benjamin George Wilson, aged 40 from Barnet, having earlier pleaded guilty to operating an HMO without an HMO licence, was found guilty last Friday at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court of numerous safety regulation breaches and fined £10,500, plus £3,000 costs.

Highpad Ltd pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed HMO at an earlier hearing, but the company, which is also associated with the landlords, was also found guilty of several safety breaches and was fined £9,500 plus ordered to pay £3,000 costs.

Acting on tenant concerns, council officers visited the property in late 2016 and found a lack of fire safety, a lack of a handrail on some stairs, an oven that posed a fire risk, windows in poor condition and a leaking sink.

In addition, as a result of the poor conditions, a suspended prohibition notice was served for a basement room due to poor levels of light and an improvement notice served to address other hazards.

Having failed to manage the property adequately and for a lack of the respective licence, the council brought the prosecution.

Cllr Meric Apak, cabinet member for Better Homes, commented: “Anyone who owns or manages an HMO – that’s a home occupied by three or more people who form more than one household - needs to have a licence.

“All landlords should also keep their property to a safe and liveable standard. As with this case, Camden Council will take whatever action is required in order to protect those who live in our borough.”

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