Kathryn Gilbertson

+44 (0)1733 887621 kgilbertson@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Kirstie Goulder

+44 (0)1733 887682 kgoulder@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Eye-watering fines imposed on London landlords for breaches of HMO Regs

Property Guardianship / 04 November 2020

Reading Crown Court has fined two landlords a combined sum of £130,000 for providing dangerous and sub-standard housing.

An investigation by Islington Council found 35 breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations (HMO Regs) at three properties. This left tenants at risk from serious fire safety hazards, overcrowding and disrepair. Breaches included:

—  Overcrowding with a total of 35 people living in three 2-bedroom flats;
—  one of the flats had no working fire alarm system;
—  general disrepair including dangerous electrics;
—  tenants did not have a tenancy agreement and instead paid cash

Arun Barjaj was found guilty of 15 offences and was fined £100,000 based on the severity of the breaches. He was also ordered to pay £20,000 costs. Antonio Ferraiulo was found guilty of 35 offences and was fined £10,500.

Comment
These prosecutions send a clear message that, where landlords and managers put their tenants at risk and provide substandard conditions, they will be held to account by the council and courts. The consequences of breaches of the HMO Regs and/or an unlicensed HMO are severe, including:

—  substantial fines;
—  potential imprisonment;
—  rent repayment orders
—  banning orders;
—  entry on the “Rogue Landlord database”.

Tenants and property guardians who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic are more likely than ever to seek redress for unsafe conditions. Make sure you are doing all you can to comply with the law. If you need a refresher on the definition of an HMO and its application to property guardian providers, please read our past update or get in touch with our experienced property guardianship team.

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