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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Unlicenced HMO Landlords Convicted

    I would suspect the owners were given multiple warnings about the violations and the need to license the property. As such there is likely more to the story than just the fact that a council took legal action. HMO violations and the remedies are not sudden events or a quick process.
    John Corey
    Follow me on Twitter-> https://www.twitter.com/john_corey
    https://www.ChelseaPrivateEquity.com/blog
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    John Corey 


    I host the London Real Estate Meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month since 2005. If you have never been before, email me for the 'new visitor' link.

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    With so many gurus advocating HMO's as a strategy for newbies, the below is a salutary warning that penalties can be very harsh, especially as it is the first time that rent repayments have been awarded.

    Landlord of un-licenced HMO ordered to repay £30K in rent.

    A landlord who illegally rented out rooms in an unlicensed HMO has been ordered to repay more than £30,000 in housing benefit that he received for the flats.

    Landlord Mehmet Parlak was prosecuted by Haringey Council because he should have licensed the two properties, and had ignored warnings to do so.

    The Residential Property Tribunal has now awarded the council a repayment of £32,278 in housing benefit payments for the properties.

    It is the first time the council has won rent repayments following a landlord’s failure to license a mandatory HMO.

    Cllr Nilgun Canver, cabinet member for the environment, said: “This is good news. I hope all landlords who do not license their HMOs and therefore avoid the maintenance and safety inspections necessary to ensure their tenants are safe and suitably housed, will take heed.”

    Parlak has been told he can pay back the amounts owed in instalments, with the tribunal suggesting that he agree a timescale with the council.

    Related reading:

    Solicitor David Smith on HMO challenges
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    (16-04-2013 09:15 AM)vanessa warwick Wrote:  A landlord who illegally rented out rooms in an unlicensed HMO has been ordered to repay more than £30,000 in housing benefit that he received for the flats.

    Landlord Mehmet Parlak was prosecuted by Haringey Council because he should have licensed the two properties, and had ignored warnings to do so.

    I keep seeing working like “and had ignored warnings to do so” in this sort of report….
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    This is an important warning for landlords. However the story is a bit misreported in the article Vanessa is quoting. This is not actually the first time that a local authority has sought a repayment order for housing benefit in relation to an unlicensed HMO.
    The major issue with these cases is that a large number of landlords assume the fine in the magistrates court will be small (and it often is) so they do not bother spending the money to defend the case properly or, in the worst cases, do not turn up at all. The fine might be small but the consequent penalties are not and this should be taken into account by any landlord facing an HMO prosecution.
    It is also the case that landlords plead ignorance of their obligations. This is not just an HMO issue, I see the same thing in all sorts of matters from tenancy deposit protection to repairs. A landlord is running a business and it is not good practice for any business to be operated with total disregard to the law that applied to it. New starters who are thinking of getting into HMOs, rent to Rent, or any other aspect of acting as a landlord should make sure they fully understand their obligations. It is not an excuse to say that you are new or did not know what you were doing!
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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    I find it amazing that these people don't take the time to learn the rules of the game before they start playing, or even more so that they know the rules and don't spend the relatively small sums needed to apply the required standards. After all, it's not a massively complex subject and the information is freely available via Google (other search engines are available, or so I'm told) or the local council. It gives the rest of us a bad name and if it becomes more widespread will no doubt encourage more regulations for them to ignore and responsible landlords and/or their tenants to pay for.
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