The director of a property investment and management firm has been stung with a �15,900 rent repayment order after failing to convince a First Tier Property Tribunal that he didn't know about HMO licensing.
John Campbell, the boss of Hackney 4 Ltd, claimed he was unaware his three-bedroom flat in Cazenove Road (main picture), London, was covered by Hackney's additional licensing and selective licensing schemes.
He had owned the property since 2007 but hadn't seen any local publicity, or reference to it on internet landlord forums and received no notification from the council or from the superior landlord.
The four tenants '� who shared the pay-out, along with �600 costs - pointed out that blaming his ignorance was disingenuous due to his position in the property company.
However, Campbell argued this was based upon his knowledge of property investment and management which did not include a technical expertise in legislation regulating the PRS.
The tribunal ruled: 'The licensing scheme has been in place since 2018 in Hackney. It may have been objectively reasonable for the respondent to be ignorant of the requirement for the first six or nine months of its implementation. It is not objectively reasonable to be ignorant of the requirements for a period of one or more years.'�
It had serious concerns about the landlord's conduct in relation to standards in the property where he had delegated several management responsibilities to the tenants.
The Tribunal also pointed to persistent damp and the presence of mould, his failure to replace an ageing boiler which kept breaking down, and the fact there was no communal space other than the kitchen.
It added: 'It seems unlikely to the tribunal that the property will be licenced for four separate households once it is inspected by London Borough of Hackney.'�