Companies managing unsafe and unlicensed flats told to pay over £40,000
On Friday 13 July 2018, at Highbury Magistrates Court, two managing agent companies were ordered to pay fines, costs and victim surcharges of over £42,000 after being found guilty of managing three unsafe flats that required a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence but were not licensed by Camden Council.
The London Borough of Camden successfully prosecuted the managing agent ‘Leycam Limited’, and the letting agent ‘Citydeal Estates (London) Limited’ for 12 charges arising from offences relating to the failure to licence as HMOs three flats in the same building at 41 Fortess Road, London and 9 other offences under the HMO Management regulations relating to the condition of the flats.
Together they received a fine of £25,050 for failing to have a licence and Leycam Limited received £6,975 for breaching regulations.
Council officers were first alerted to the properties in the summer of 2017 when tenants complained about a rat infestation and poor housing conditions, including rotting windows, dampness and fire safety issues. The tenants had to place saucepans within a bedroom of one of the flats to catch leaking bathwater.
Despite the agents being aware of the council’s HMO Licensing scheme, they ignored tenant requests for issues to be resolved. Citydeal Estates (London) Limited had argued that they were not responsible as they only received the tenancy deposits and the first month’s rent however Judge Newton ruled they were managing the property.
“We will investigate all landlords who we suspect have allowed the condition of their properties to fall below the required standards and if evidence proves they have been negligent, we will respond in the strongest possible terms, including with legal action.
“We want to work with landlords to help them manage their homes, protect tenants’ rights and ensure that they have safe and accessible accommodation.”