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Council cracks down on criminal landlords, issuing thousands of pounds worth of penalty notices this year

PUBLISHED: 15:16 27 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:16 27 December 2018

Romford Town centre. Havering Town Hall

Romford Town centre. Havering Town Hall

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More than £300,000 worth of penalty notices have been handed out to criminal landlords over the last 11 months, it has been revealed.

During 2018, enforcement was taken by Havering Council against landlords operating inadequate and dangerous living conditions in housing of multiple occupancy [HMOs].

Action from the local authority included handing 108 financial penaltynotices, 16 housing related notices served to address poor housing standards, 181 licence applications served and £144,854 licensing fees collected.

The total penalty notice value for the last 11 months is £304,250.

The council’s Landlord Licencing Scheme, which started earlier this year, requires private landlords of HMOs to apply for a licence.

Aims of the scheme include tackling the poor management of private rented homes, overcrowding and anti-social behaviour.

Landlords of properties that have five or more occupiers in two or more households now need to have the mandatory Houses of Multiple Occupancy licence.

The council will look to see that landlords are licensed correctly and if not, can serve a financial penalty notice for up to £30,000 and those not licensed could face prosecution.

In November, council staff found an unlicensed HMO with four households in Elm Park, including babies and children, sharing a kitchen and bathroom in an over-crowded property in poor conditions.

There was also inadequate fire safety, with no working fire alarm or fire door.

The landlord of this property will be issued with financial penalties for failing to licence the property and for breaching HMO management regulations.

Cabinet member for public protection and safety, Councillor Viddy Persaud said: “The past 11 months have seen us carry out back-to-back enforcement action.

“Under our landlord scheme, we are successfully rooting out those landlords that think they are above the law.

“Our message to them is, is they cannot get away with it.

“We won’t tolerate these landlords taking advantage of local families and individuals by providing overcrowded and poorly maintained HMO properties.

“Our officers will continue to be proactive to make sure tenants are living safely in private rented accommodation.

“Landlords of HMOs that breach the regulations should be aware that we will use the strongest possible action against them every time.”

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