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Landlords fined millions in latest enforcement crackdown

PropTech firm Kamma says total fines for agents and landlords have now topped £8m in London alone with a £238,000 increase in just the last month .

The service says a post-pandemic return to enforcement action is one explanation for the increase, with around 20 per cent of all fines on record occurring in the last 12 months. A greater number of licensing schemes, creating more opportunity for agents and landlords to fall foul of complex regulations, is also a driver, with 13 new schemes launching in the Greater London area, and 30 in the UK, in the last year.

Councils are also targeting other areas and other avenues of enforcement, with Rent Repayment Orders and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards regulations both seeing increased reporting in recent months. For example, earlier this year a landlord in east London was ordered to pay her former tenants over £12,000 in a RRO case. 

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As well as increased enforcement, agents are also being fined larger amounts. 

Last August the average fine for letting agents was £4,380, now a year later Kamma has reported an increase of seven per cent, taking the average agent fine to £4,690. Landlords, in contrast, are fined more frequently but smaller amounts, with an average of £4,304. 

Enforcement trends differed across the capital. 

Camden council tops the enforcement league table as the most active in terms of number of fines, followed closely by Newham and Southwark. Yet, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is the London borough with the highest average fines of £19,800 per offence, followed by Hillingdon with an average of £13,500, and Hackney with £11,250. 

Kamma chief executive Orla Shields explains: “Local councils are sending a strong message to landlords and agents across the country with fines increasing by £2 million in the 12 months. Agents need to see this as an opportunity to take control of their compliance and take action to protect their clients, and themselves against further enforcement efforts and fines”. 

Letting agents and landlords stand to face fines of up to £30,000 for non-compliance, if failing to comply with safety and licensing regulations, and additional fines of up to £5,000 per property for non-compliance with MEES regulations. 

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