News

Barnet landlady prosecuted and fined £15,000 for operating a poorly managed and unlicensed HMO

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - Barnet Council

On 28 February, a Barnet landlady pleaded guilty to failing to license and manage a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Sharon Jacobs was ordered to pay a fine of £15,000 plus costs of £3,456.52 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Several complaints were received from different tenants living in the property on Litchfield Way NW11, prompting council officers to investigate. A warrant was later obtained to enter the building and police and environmental health officers from Re (a joint venture between Capita and Barnet Council) jointly attended to discover five people living in the property plus the resident landlady.

Barnet Council landlord prosecution 2017

Under the council’s licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), higher-risk properties meeting set criteria must be licensed, be properly managed and meet minimum standards. Ms. Jacobs ought to have been aware of this, having another property licensed in the London Borough of Camden and having previously been an accredited landlord under the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

In addition to failing to license the property, officers also noticed serious safety concerns including a mini oven and freezer on the main fire escape routes and a partially-collapsed kitchen ceiling. There was also a lack of adequate smoke alarms and incomplete fire doors to prevent the spread of smoke and flames.

Barnet Council landlord prosecution 2017

Councillor Tom Davey, Chairman of Barnet Council’s Housing Committee, said:

Where landlords are putting tenants’ lives at risk we will leave nothing to chance and take strong action against those responsible.

This landlady has knowingly avoided licensing her property and carrying out necessary works, and I’m pleased to see our enforcement action has sent a strong message that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.

Enforcement officers are visiting properties across Barnet every day, and HMO landlords found not to be licensed will have action taken against them.

This latest successful prosecution by Barnet Council brings the total number of landlords prosecuted for failing to license or manage their properties to nine over the last two years, with fines totalling more than £200,000 issued.

Landlords who are unsure whether their property needs a licence or not can visit the council website where a licensing tool is available to help, plus guidance and application documents: www.barnet.gov.uk/hmos.

For additional information email hmos@barnet.gov.uk or contact 020 8359 5355.

You can find out more about property licensing in Barnet by visiting www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/barnetLondon Property Licensing can assist in getting your property licensed and helping you achieve compliance. To find out more, please completed our contact form.  

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