News

HMO Landlord ordered to pay over £25,000 for breaches of the Housing Act

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has prosecuted a landlord after he failed to obtain the required House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence, failed to carry out gas safety checks or attend to other repairs at the property. On Tuesday 14 July 2015, he was ordered to pay £25,151.92 after pleading guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court to five charges under the Housing Act 2004.

On 8 October 2014 Environmental Health Officers from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea visited a property in Bramley Road, London, W10, owned by Mr Emmil Seeson Watson (also known as Emil Wayne Watson), of Nash Close, Earley, Reading. The visit followed complaints from tenants about a leaking roof they could not get repaired as they were unable to contact Mr Watson.

Council Officers found up to seven tenants living in the house, despite Mr Watson not having a licence for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) as required by the Housing Act 2004. This licence is an important requirement as it enables the Council to ensure a property is safe for the number of occupiers and is properly managed.

The court heard that Watson had gone out of his way to avoid cooperating with the Council and had made himself very difficult to contact. He had refused to obtain the proper licence despite two previous warnings. Three emergencies had occurred at the house since 2012 including a leak that caused a ceiling to collapse and a window that needed repair after a burglary, and tenants were forced to complain to the emergency services and the Council because Mr Watson could not be reached.

Mr Watson told the court that had he licensed the property he would have had to raise the rents, whereas some rents had stayed the same for some years. He also stated that he paid the bills out of the rents he took. He also said he was not replacing the tenants who had left, therefore reducing the number of people living at the property which would mean it would not need to be licensed.

Commenting on the case, the Chairwoman of the Bench said Mr Watson had put his tenants in danger and failed to follow clear warnings from the Council regarding the licensing of the property.

A Council spokesman said: “The Council will take action against landlords who deliberately avoid their legal obligations and who make life difficult for their tenants. We are very pleased that the Court fully supported the action taken by the Council and trust that the prosecution will act as a deterrent to other landlords who do not take their responsibilities seriously.

For more information about HMO licensing in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/kensington-chelsea.

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