As they launch their campaign to improve standards in the private rented sector, Camden Council have successfully prosecuted an estate agency over the lack of their client landlord’s HMO licence.
Akil Miah a director of Carter Reeves estate agents, who are based in King’s Cross, was fined by Highbury Magistrates Court on 3 December for failing to obtain a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence.
Carter Reeves Limited has now been dissolved, so the fine of £4800 (for failure to license and 5 other offences under the Housing Act 2004) and costs of £12,269 were ordered against The owners of the property in Kentish Town.
The owners, who had previously been prosecuted by Camden Council for failing to obtain an HMO licence, had asked Carter Reeves to manage the property for them.
As a way of avoiding having to apply for an HMO licence the estate agents let the property to five tenants but only put four on the tenancy agreement. Housing Act 2004 legislation states that a property with five or more tenants that has three or more storeys must have an HMO licence.
Over one-third of homes in Camden are privately rented after rapid growth in the demand for rental accommodation in recent years, and the popularity of Camden as a place to live means that even poor quality accommodation is being rented out easily.
Camden say that the lack of affordable housing, with the average home costing more than £600,000, means that many working families now rely on living in privately rented homes. Camden say they are determined to improve standards and make sure that every resident has access to a decent affordable home.
Camden say they have launched a survey asking for views on renting privately in the borough which will run until February 14. Teams will be visiting homes in the borough between now and March next year to carry out surveys in person. There will also be a series of meetings with private landlords and tenants to get as many views as possible on how to make private renting better for everyone, tenants and landlords.
Councillor Julian Fulbrook, Cabinet member for Housing, said:
“This prosecution is just the latest of our successes against rogue private sector landlords. It shows how serious we are about tackling the problem of poor quality private rented sector accommodation.”
“Rising housing prices together with the lack of affordable homes in Camden means that we have to make sure that private landlords do not take advantage of the situation. We are serious about protecting vulnerable tenants and I would like as many people as possible to get involved in our campaign to improve standards in the private sector.”