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Rogue lettings agents fined £130k over HMO ‘carve up’

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  • 10/07/2019
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Rogue lettings agents fined £130k over HMO ‘carve up’
A trio of letting agents and property firms have been fined a total of £130,000 over an illegally-run house in multiple occupation.

The property on Pandora Road, in West Hampstead, had been “badly converted” into 16 tiny flats, according to Camden Council. 

In total, the trio received £95,000 in fines over the failure to license the property, £25,000 for failure to respond to statutory notices requiring information, with a further £10,000 levied for the re-letting of a tiny flat in contravention of a prohibition order.

Grosvenor Property Investment and its directors were fined a total of £25,000, Knightsbridge Property London and its directors were fined £55,000, while Business Home  and its directors were fined £50,000.

On top of the fines, the firms have also been ordered to pay Camden Council’s legal costs.

Camden Council said it had made an application to reclaim the “large amount” of housing benefit which had been paid to the tenants, who had paid this onto the landlord.

It said that it had served civil penalties on Grosvenor Property Investment in 2017 over poor management, due to the fire alarm and a failure to license the property as an HMO. 

When officers visited again in January 2019, it still had no licence, while multiple prohibition orders were served as the council said that many of the flats were so small they would pose a hazard for those living there.

Councillor Meric Apak, cabinet member for better homes at Camden Council, said that the conversion o the property was so poor that it had its toilet cistern in the communal corridor, while tenants were being “plagued” by a faulty alarm.

He added: “Once again this proves why regulation of homes in multiple occupation is necessary. If you are running a house in multiple occupation in Camden you must get it licensed to prove you are a fit and proper landlord committed to keeping the property in a fit state for tenants. We will not hesitate to step in to protect tenants’ rights.”

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