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Huge fine after landlord runs illegal HMO

A London landlord has been ordered to pay over £33,000 in costs for illegally running an HMO.

The three-bedroom HMO was identified by Barking and Dagenham council as not having planning permission, either granted or pending, to change from a single dwelling.

The landlord, Husna Patel, was sent letters in January and March 2019 making her aware of the planning regulation requirements, however these were ignored, and an Enforcement Notice was served in April 2019 requiring the use of the HMO to be ceased within six months.

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In January 2020 an inspection by council officers discovered that the property was still being occupied by two unrelated families who were sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities.

During further investigation, it was established that the property was managed by Woodland Property Management Ltd of Ilford.

Patel and Woodland Property Management Ltd were summoned to Barkingside Magistrates Court last May but Patel failed to attend and a warrant not backed for bail was issued. She surrendered to custody last June.

Patel and Woodland Property Management Ltd attended Barkingside Magistrates Court at the end of last month where they pleaded guilty.

Patel was ordered to pay a £5,000 fine, costs of £1,542.50 and £27,000 under the Proceeds of Crime legislation totalling £33,542.50.

Woodland Property Management Ltd was ordered to pay a fine of £7,500, costs of £1,542.50 and £3,000 under the Proceeds of Crime legislation, totalling £12,042.50.

A council spokesperson says: “Landlords operating in Barking and Dagenham must follow the rules we’ve set out to ensure that tenants are looked after properly. This particular landlord and property management company failed to do this and completely ignored requests from our officers. They’re now paying the price with a huge fine.”

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    It's a big fine. It would be nice to hear the landlords side of the story. Otherwise, based on what is stated the landlords should have taken note of the warnings. I guess at least one of the families are now homeless!

  • jeremy clarke

    6 months notice given by council to tenant yet it took the council a further 3 months to visit the property, why? Does the council not have a diary that they could have put the expiry of notice date in and scheduled a visit?

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    With the current shortage of rental properties, what on earth is wrong with two families sharing one house?

    I well remember my Granny's two bedroom Council house often had a newly married couple renting the front bedroom and sharing the kitchen and bathroom with my Granny and Grandpa. They were sometimes there for two or three years before getting their own Council house and often moved out with a couple of kids in tow.

    Why was that a normal occurrence in the early fifties but is now a criminal offence? Why was it perfectly safe then, with coal fire in every bedroom whilst it's now regarded as dangerous unless the gas and electric are checked every year?

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    Rob. I doubt if any of them will be homeless more likely the Tenants probably instigated the action, if I dare think this.
    I have seen this many times to jump the queue and get housed by the Council. They’ll pack in anywhere even in the illegal back garden Flats, then after a while run to the Council, look where I am living isn’t it terrible and my kids health is suffering.
    This part of the story is missing no mention of the Tenants I smell a rat. The Council didn’t just pick her properly out of a hat.
    She should have a had a HMO license if it applied to her area.
    However that also can be a bit unfair the way it applies to some properties and not others
    depending on the type of person you rent to.
    Please tell us if they were on Benefit and are the Council happy now that they got the money back, its not victimising anymore, just tell it how it is / a spade a spade.

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    The way I remember the rules at the time if it was let to a Family no license required. Therefore if Ms Husna Patel had rented the property to one Family twice the size there would be no breach, to include, brothers, sisters, Mam, Dad, grandma, grandpa, steps, half bros’ sister, au pair etc or if the two families she had a vague connection.

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    I had a 3 bedroom flat let to 3 students, 2 of whom claimed to be step brother and sister.

    They had a noisy party and the Council noise abatement team turned up. They wrote me a stroppy letter about anti social behaviour from my tenants and accused me of having an unlicensed HMO.

    I had a letter which was supposed to be from a parent and step parent confirming they were step brother and sister and an email I had sent to the Council to confirm that this was all the evidence I needed.

    They left but the Council never accepted that I had done everything right but just said they were taking no further action on this occasion.

    I managed to deduct rent from their deposit up until the flat was relet but I doubt whether I could do that now.

    That flat now had its own HMO licence and a much higher rent, although it's exactly the same size as when it was illegal to let to 3 unrelated adults!

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    Some landlords preferred to let to Family’s to exempt themselves from the hassle of HMO Regulation’s.
    People lived in those houses many Victorian going back 100 years with the same doors etc no longer considered acceptable and people were relatively safe, my goodness and an open coal fire in every room, now we have alarms, Certificate’s of Compliance for everything and room sealed Central heating systems, today’s generation for all their education seems to require
    molly cuddling by nandy pandy government.
    Anyway Mr Gove has shoot himself in the foot as they say.
    With Borough wide Selective licensing for everyone who lets will have to do the Compliance work and pay the Council’s Application fee.
    So no longer any incentive to let to family’s and having done all the work will be letting room at a much higher rent to recover their extra material & a mammoth administration costs.

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    Michael

    Another disincentive to let to families will be the difficulty in evicting them if England follows the lunacy now in Scotland.

    The SNP have made groups of students who won't want to stay on long term more attractive tenants than those families who would take good care of the property but want to stay on indefinitely.

     
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    Robert, another bi-product of Removing the foundation Section 21.
    It will be harder for families to find places to rent.
    Although I never met a family that were paying for themselves ? and that’s saying something.

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    Another 900 new high rise Flats for Ealing / Acton, to be built by Barrett’s and TfL, adjacent to the new massive Development of 52 acres high rise Flats which is in the final phase almost
    completed.
    So you still don’t think those Regulation’s & Penalties are not designed to drive out Private landlords for the big boys take over, any penny dropping yet.
    Incidentally 50% will be affordable, so why are they building 50% of unaffordable Flats.

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