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Landlord triumphs in overturning council licensing fine

A landlord has overturned a council fine for letting her flat without a licence - and it’s the same local authority that recently boasted of its clampdown on the private rental sector.

Irene Ekweozoh owns a flat in Ilford and has let it out since 2007; in 2017 Redbridge council introduced a selective licensing scheme but notified Ekweozoh in a letter sent to a previous, out-of-date address.

She applied for the £616 licence when the letter was forwarded to her but several months later received a £2,500 fine for the period she had let the property without it.


Now Judge Martin Rodger QC has granted Ekweozoh’s appeal to scrap the fine, arguing she had only “committed an offence of moderate seriousness” and should be given a warning.

The Ilford Guardian reports that ee wrote: “The basic facts of this case are that a landlord with a single property… was unaware of the need for a licence, having been absent from the country for 10 years.

“When the officer inspected the flat… they found it to be well maintained and in good condition.  A licence was granted without a requirement for any work to be done.

“The appellant’s non-compliance with the licensing requirement did not, therefore, cause a significant risk (or any risk) to the occupants or to the public as a whole.”



Ironically Redbridge council has in recent days boasted of its clampdown on landlords.

It issued a statement saying it had visited 171 buy to let properties in a week, discovering 41 that were operating without the necessary licence and a further 22 properties which had been referred to the planning department as illegal conversations.

You can see the local media report on the overturned fine here.

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    Doesn't this show that licensing is about Councils raising money not standards?


    councils are the enemy--their greed is staggering--all those pensions to pay

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    legal (or is it )robbery, once again Landlord bashing,good hard working people trying to make a living(not robbing) and doing what this government can't ie Provide housing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    It's great to see common sense has prevailed in the legal system and the greedy council have not been allowed to thrown their weight around and cash in on the lucrative business they run of issuing fines. Well done to the Landlord for fighting in and not caving in. I hope the Council were made liable for all her legal costs and it taught them a valuable lesson !!!


    I don't disagree but I hate to see incompetent highly paid public servants get off Scot free no matter what mistakes they make.

    If they win in court, their victims pay. If they lose, the taxpayers foot the bill.

    They never suffer personally no matter how much public money they squander.

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    I don't actually see a significant discrepancy between the story and the council's 'clamp-down' claim. This was not a landlord that needed clamping down.
    However there should have been no need for an appeal as common sense should have prevailed much earlier in the case. What more can a person do than react immediately on receipt of a notice?

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    @ Anthony Landamore
    MOST of the landlords issued Civil Penalties don't need, "clamping down on " - but Councils issue them almost without exception as a revenue stream. !

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    If any outside analysis was made of council licensing schemes I believe it will show that it costs the council more to license properties than they receive including the fines. It gives me some satisfaction to know that lIcensing is a beast that I believe will devours its creators . Instead of criticising the council for being greedy we should point out that licensing serves no benefit at all apart from creating pointless jobs. If anyone out there can point out what is the benefit of licensing I would sleep better in my bed as I have had to licence over 100 of my properties and I have yet to find any benefit to tenants and to the council apart from keeping people employed. As far as my tenants are concerned they have been upset and inconvenienced by the inspections and pointless changes that the licensing inspectors demand. The only benefit from my point of view is the council have checked the property and said they are safe just in case there's any comeback. On more than one occasion I've been threatened by an inspector with action who has gone away when I pointed out that on a previous inspections the inspectors found no issues. I have also used the point that the property is licensed when tenants have tried to sue me for falling over their own feet . Whether the fact the property is license helped I'm not sure. I suspect it was more to do with me standing up to the claim from the corrupt no-win no fee solicitors that made the day. .

    To add insult to injury it would have cost the landlady, Irene Ekweozok , more in legal costs than the fine of £2,500 assuming it was a fine, I suspect it was a civil penalty. Rarely our costs awarded. I am amazed that the judge came to the decision he did. Would it be sexist to suggest that Irene took the judges fancy as she has committed an offence . The tribunal that deals with appeals are very harsh towards landlords who have not licensed, most of whom have not licensed out of ignorance just as Irene failed to licence.

    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO daddy

  • Mohammad Kamran  Iqbal

    £616 for a flats license? Must be a selective license for one small family rather than sharers. This is day light robbery. Landlord licenses are not fit for the purpose of local authority use. If government wants to improve private housing then they should create a new agency to run this and charge a reasonable fee to landlord.
    Local authority is abusing their power.


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