Rent Clawback:

An Islington landlord has been ordered to repay almost £40,000 of housing benefit the Council paid out in rent, while the landlord company was letting unlicensed flats.

Islington Council took legal action to reclaim the housing benefit it paid to Landhouse Ltd in respect of tenants living in a house multiple occupation (HMO) in Holloway Road.

Back in August the company had admitted operating the licensable HMO without a licence, and at that time was ordered to pay £14,140 in fines and costs.

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An inspection by the council’s Environmental Health Officers found the property to be overcrowded, poorly managed, and with evident fire safety hazards.

On Wednesday December 14, in a hearing at the Property Chamber, London Residential Property First Tier Tribunal, Landhouse was in addition to the £14,140 in fines and costs, ordered to pay back to the council £39,022.52 in housing benefit relating to the time the flats were rented without a licence.

Landhouse Ltd has now applied for a licence and has agreed to repay the housing benefit.  The Council states that it does not keep the housing benefit that is repaid, a sum that is returned to a central government housing benefit consolidation fund.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said:

“More and more people rent privately in Islington, and we’re committed to helping make sure they have decent homes to live in.

“We will take action when landlords do not keep within the law, and as this case shows the costs can be very significant.

“Any landlord or tenant with concerns about property licensing can confidentially contact the council for advice and support.”

Since September 2015, Islington Council has extended HMO licensing requirements to cover all HMOs on Holloway Road and Caldedonian Road.  This includes all rented properties where three or more people live in more than one household, and some converted properties. This came after evidence of poor management of many rented properties in the streets.

Landlords and tenants in Islington can check if their property needs a licence by using the licence checker here

Landlords can find out if their property is licensable by contacting the council’s HMO licensing team at HMOlicensing@islington.gov.uk or 0207 527 3205.

1 COMMENT

  1. It is distressing to hear a DWP Spokesman stating what he / she must surely know to be a bald faced lie. They have deliberately set up a system to make it impossible for private sector landlords to support vulnerable tenants and is designed to make people homeless.

    See my post on https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?73688-My-Experience-with-Universal-Credit-Tenant

    Deleting applications is not working with landlords. Even if one was to believe that they cannot accept the incorrect form, surely they have a duty to write to the landlord asking them to submit it. The link given to the guidance as to which form to supply amply demonstates that the guidance is hardly clear but is Kafkaesque.

    This system was set up to minimise DWP\’s expenditure by making it unworkable.

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