Shifty estate agency slapped with tens of thousands in fines for housing offences

5 February 2018

An estate agency operating in Brent has been prosecuted for licensing and housing offences at Willesden Magistrates Court.

 

Easy Let Agency rented out a property from a landlord in order to re-rent it as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) without the landlord's knowledge. The company's personnel, which also operates under the name Focus Property Management Limited, was slapped with fines in two court hearings held on 25 January and 30 January.

 

In the first case, the owners of a five bedroom terrace house in Gowan Road, Willesden, rented out their property to Claudio Crisafulli who was working as a freelance estate agent for Easy Let. Mr Crisafulli then illegally sublet the house as a HMO behind his landlords' backs.

 

Brent's licensing enforcement team became involved when neighbours in Gowan Road complained to the Council about lots of people coming and going from the property. Investigating officers found it difficult to track down the people responsible because Easy Let Agency was listed under a false address.

 

On 25 January, Easy Let company director, Marcio Da Silva, was fined £2,000 for failure to licence and a further £2,000 for breach of management regulations as well as £1,670 in costs. Fellow director, Marcio Auriello Do Prado, was fined £3,000 for failure to licence and £3,000 for breach of management regulations alongside £1,670 fines.

 

Claudio Crisafulli was fined £400 for failure to licence and £400 for a breach of management regulations on top of £40 costs. The agency was also slapped with a £5,000 fine and £170 in costs. The total fines and costs for the case amounted to £19,180.

 

In a separate sentence hearing on 30 January, Focus Property Management Limited was sentenced to a total of £20,229 in fines for management regulation and licensing breaches for another rented property in Tower Road, Willesden Green.

 

Cllr Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "We will pursue estate agents and subletters who operate outside the law all the way to court. Sadly, we have seen that rogue operators in the private rented sector disrupt neighbourhoods and make tenants' lives a misery. Brent Council will do everything to improve the standard of living in Brent."