Evasive landlords hit with tens of thousands of pounds worth of fines

2 May 2018

A court has ordered a landlord to pay more than £10,000 for licensing breaches in connection with a property that has also seen an estate agency slapped with heavy fines.


Easy Let agency was fined £20,229 by Willesden Magistrate Court in February for failing to licence an overcrowded three-storey, semi-detached house in Tower Road, Willesden Green. And on 25 April this year, property owner Mohammed Mehdi Ali of Barn Hill, Wembley, was also fined £10,000 for failure to licence the property, on top of court costs totalling £3,300.


The house, which was split into flats, wasn't properly licensed. Easy Let and Mr Ali were in breach of HMO laws (House in Multiple Occupation) for cramming more than ten people into the ground and first floor rooms, including three children.


In a separate case heard at Willesden Magistrates on 26 April, landlord Stephen Citron, of Chelmsford Square, Kensal Rise, was ordered to pay £17,273 in fines and court costs for failing to comply with licensing regulations.


Mr Citron was renting out undersized bedrooms to tenants in a house in Keslake Road, Kensal Rise. The two-storey property contained five standard size bedrooms and two undersized rooms, which were prohibited for use under the licence conditions. The legal minimum requirement for a single room is 6.5 sqm. Mr Citron's undersized rooms measured 5.1 sqm and 4.8 sqm respectively. He had ignored repeated warnings to make adjustments to his property in order to comply with legal requirements.


Spencer Randolph, Head of Private Housing Services, said: "Ownership of a property does not give landlords the right to ignore planning and licensing laws. Mr Citron and Mr Ali were given every opportunity to comply with regulations, but instead they held the Council in contempt and ended up in court. If they had cooperated with us, they would have been spared the hefty financial blows and criminal records they were dealt in court."


Brent Council has extended selective licensing to all privately rented properties in Dudden Hill, Kensal Green, Kilburn, Mapesbury and Queen's Park from 1 June 2018 when the fee will be £540.


Landlords and agents will be able to make early selective licence applications from 1 May 2018 to benefit from the existing £340 fee.


HMO property licence application fees will go up to £840 from 1 June 2018.


If you are a Brent landlord who lets out shared accommodation, you can apply for a licence online at www.brent.gov.uk/prslicensing


If you suspect that someone is renting out an unlicensed property in Brent, please report them anonymously at www.brent.gov.uk/reportaproperty