Common sense has broken out temporarily in the court system after a landlord successfully overturned a £2,500 fine for unknowingly letting her flat without a licence while she lived abroad.

Irene Ekweozoh began renting out the flat in Axon Place, Ilford (pictured) in 2007 when she moved to Canada but didn’t give Redbridge Council her new address, which means she did not know its new selective licensing scheme had been introduced in July 2017.

She only discovered the change in November 2018 and immediately sent in an application. However, in May 2019 she was fined for the six-month period the property had been rented without a licence.

Ekweozoh appealed against the decision which has now been overturned.

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Fine scrapped

Judge Martin Rodger ruled that the fine should be scrapped, arguing that the landlord had committed an offence of “moderate seriousness” and should only be given a warning.

He added: “The basic facts of this case are that a landlord with a single property…was unaware of the need for a licence, having been absent from the country for ten years.

The appellant’s non-compliance with the licensing requirement did not therefore cause a significant risk (or any risk) to the occupants or to the public as a whole.

“This seems to me to be a case in which the appropriate disposal, in accordance with the respondent’s policy, is to deal with the matter informally.”

A Redbridge Council spokesman said it was disappointed with the outcome but accepted the judge’s findings. He added: “The scheme helps the council to protect the health and safety of private renters and improve the quality of privately rented homes in the borough.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. Which is exactly why I am completing the sale of 5 rental properties in 10 days time. Good luck to anybody joining or staying in the business, personally, I have had enough!

    • Yep I’m doing the same as you eventually.
      I really hope thay there will be millions of homeless tenants soon.

      Already we have GR and Shelter etc moaning about LL letting on AirBnB rather than letting on AST.

      Yet it is these organisations that have made LL move away from the AST business model.

      LL are in business to make PROFITS!!
      IF the AST business model is no longer PROFITABLE enough then LL are perfectly within their rights to use their property assets as they see fit and subject to complying with any relevant covenants.

      It is not for tenants to dictate to a LL how his assets are utilised.

      I’m sure the vast majority of LL would return to the AST business model if they were allowed to quickly get rid of feckless rent defaulting tenants WITHOUT needing any court action.
      Also to abolish the bonkers S24.

      As there is no chance this will occur LL will continue to leave the AST business model to other models which won’t suit longer term tenants.

      Of course nothing to stop these tenants having holiday contracts but obviously a lot more expensive than an AST tenancy.

      But many LL can’t even be bothered to use the FHL business model and they like you sell up.

      In light of all the anti-LL regulations a perfectly rational business decision for a LL to make……………………stop being a LL!!

      It does seem that the Govt believes they can enact all sorts of bonkers anti-LL policies and the LL will still stay.

      I’m sure as LL leave the PRS they will be severely disabused of those presumptions!!!

      Good luck on your successful exit.
      I just wish I was joining you.

      It will take me some time to get out unless my lender as might be likely repossesses.
      Will do me a right favour!!

  2. “The appellant’s non-compliance with the licensing requirement did not therefore cause a significant risk (or any risk) to the occupants or to the public as a whole.”

    Exactly. This shows that licensing is not required & only benefits councils as a cah cow for free money.

  3. Absolute rip off the licence fee almost 700 pounds for each flat and you wonder why the rent suddenly increased?? Passport and driving licence doesn’t even cost that much . The government are not understanding if you put more pressure on landlords . The future generations will suffer!!🤬🤬

  4. How can they justify £700 for a license. I am curious what the council work involves to issue a licence and what the hourly rate is. It seems a disproportionate amount of money.

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