A lettings agency boss and landlord has been slapped with a £40,700 Rent Repayment Officer despite claiming that his failure to licence an HMO was an honest mistake.

A First Tier Property Tribunal handed five former tenants the maximum award for the period from September 2019 to August 2020 after it found Mohammed Jewel Miah had only applied for a licence at the end of the tenancy on the HMO in Camden’s Oakley Square.

The council also discovered a lack of appropriate firefighting devices, no emergency lighting and inadequate fire exits, while two of the rooms were too small to meet room HMO size regulations.

The tribunal said that Miah was a professional landlord who owned a couple of properties and had been in the property business since at least 2013, which made the failure to licence “particularly unsatisfactory”.

- Advertisement -

Lettings director

Miah admitted that he was listed as a director of Alex Crown Lettings and Estate Agents Ltd based in Holloway, North London, but said it was not up to him to apply for HMO licences.

“This responsibility was handed to the management company Alex Crown, there (sic) made a mistake and forgot to apply for the HMO in time due to all what was going on such as Covid-19. This was an honest mistake from the agency.”

He added that the tenants – all students – had lived happily in the flat for 11 months without making any complaints. “They were in a WhatsApp group with a local maintenance contractor so any issues, they would contact him direct and he would resolve things for them normally on the same day.”

He added: “I am a good landlord with a clean heart.”

Read the judgement in full.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Still idiot property owners who let out their properties don’t seem to understand that THEY are LEGALLY liable for EVERYTHING relating to that letting property.

    Appointing a LA to manage things does NOT abrogate the property owner for ALL responsibilities for the property whilst it is let on AST.

    When appointing someone to carry out your legal responsibilities as a LL there is always the risk that the invariable LA will make a mistake.

    The buck ALWAYS stops with the LL.

    Something that many idiot LL fail to appreciate or understand.

    This LL deserved the fine by failing to complying with regulations.

    The regulations may well be idiotic.
    But that is NOT the point.

    LL MUST comply with ALL regulations or risk such onerous fines.

    Being a LL is a far from risk free occupation!

  2. Being a Landlord is all risk and fall guy for any & everyone, why not write about the injustice and all one sided laws being created in recent years. This is a shining example of injustice given them back all the rent after they had used the property, the fine could have gone to Charity or other. I don’t see how the Tenants suffered any financial loss ?.
    This is a kin to given back 3 times the Deposits, you are expecting some very reasonable people to comply with injustice which is what it is to any fair minded person.

  3. I think the case involved some serious breaches of HMO fire and safety stndards, so the RRO amount was not just for the fact that the premises should have been licenced for a considerable period. The tenants had a legal right to have been provided with a safe place to live within the legal requirements without their safety being at risk. I’m a Landlord and I can see that is a very reasonable expectation on behalf of tenants and a serious responsibility of any landlord. We need to rid the PRS of landlords that fail to take their legal responsibilities seriously rather than tarnishing the reputation of the good landlords.

  4. The respondent was an estate agent as well as a Landlord. It’s quite clear from the judgement that he should have known, indeed had a duty to understand the requirements. Personally I am getting out of this sector because I find it onerous, as a small landlord I am worried about making mistakes. The demonisation of Landlords by government and others is very unfortunate. It is a respectable investment and profession but is not half as easy or profitable as many people seem to think. And it is not without risk from building maintenance, unpaid rents, tax and government legislation. I would describe myself as a very liberal landlord. We reduced and waived rent during the pandemic and worked with our tenant.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here