Council crackdown on criminal landlords: a year of action
There was no let up from Havering Council in 2018 as enforcement action saw £304,250 in penalty notices to criminal landlords during the last 11 months.
Enforcement was taken against landlords operating inadequate and dangerous living conditions in housing of multiple occupancy (HMOs).
Locking out our criminal landlords – Council action in 2018 included:
- 108 financial penalty notices
- 16 housing related notices served to address poor housing standards
- 181 licence applications served
- £144,854 licensing fees collected
- £304, 250 total penalty notice value
The Council’s Landlord Licencing Scheme, which started earlier this year, requires private landlords of HMOs to apply for a licence.
The scheme was introduced to tackle the poor management of private rented homes, overcrowding and anti-social behaviour.
Landlords of properties that have five or more occupiers in two or more households now need to have the mandatory Houses of Multiple Occupancy licence, a central government regulation that came in on 1 October of this year.
The Council will look to see that landlords are licensed correctly and if not, can serve a financial penalty notice for up to £30,000 and those not licensed, could face prosecution.
Councillor Viddy Persaud, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Safety, said:
“The past 11 months have seen us carry out back-to-back enforcement action. Under our landlord scheme, we are successfully rooting out those landlords that think they are above the law. Our message to them is, is they cannot get away with it.
“We won’t tolerate these landlords taking advantage of local families and individuals by providing overcrowded and poorly maintained HMO properties.
“Our officers will continue to be proactive to make sure tenants are living safely in private rented accommodation.
“Landlords of HMOs that breach the regulations should be aware that we will use the strongest possible action against them every time.”
One recent example saw the Council visit a property in Elm Park in November, finding an unlicensed HMO with four households, including babies and children, sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities in an over-crowded property in poor condition. There was also inadequate fire safety, with no working fire alarm or fire door.
The landlord of this property will be issued with financial penalties by the Council, for failing to licence the property and for breaching HMO management regulations.
For more information on landlord licensing, visit www.havering.gov.uk/hmos