Irresponsible Landlord Fined £30,000 After Fire
And extra licensing requirements for HMO's in Acton
Irresponsible landlords are being warned of the tough penalties they face after an Acton man was fined £30,000 for ignoring legal notices requiring him to provide information following a fatal fire at one of his properties.
Ealing Council served Daniel Noonan, of Twyford Avenue, Acton, with statutory notices requiring him to provide information about all his properties after a man died during a fire at a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Whitehall Gardens last May.
Under the Housing Act, landlords of large HMOs – homes where different households share facilities like kitchens or bathrooms – have to obtain a licence from the council.
Noonan had a licence for the property, but regulatory services officers served him with notices requiring him to provide information about tenants living at all six of his properties so that they could check that they all met the standards for HMOs.
Noonan failed to turn up at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 11 February. The case was proved in his absence and he was fined £30,000 in total for six offences and ordered to pay the council’s £1,105 costs.
Before granting a licence the council carries out checks to ensure that fire risks are minimised and gas and electrical safety certificates are up to date. Regulatory services officers also make sure tenants have appropriate access to facilties like kitchens and bathrooms and can put limits on the number of tenants to prevent overcrowding.
The extra licensing is being introduced in Southall Green, Southall Broadway, Greenford Broadway, South Acton, Acton Central and East Acton wards. Nationally owners of three-storey HMOs already have to be licensed, but under the new scheme licensing will be extended in those six areas to all two-storey HMOs with at least four people living in them.
Councillor Vlod Barchuk, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said: “There are too many landlords who are prepared to put their profits before the welfare of their tenants. This extra licensing will mean we can inspect more properties to ensure they are safe, in good repair and that their tenants have reasonable access to heating, hot water, electricity and cooking facilities.”
Officers had to obtain permission from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to introduce the additional licensing. The council originally wanted to introduce the additional licensing borough-wide, but the application was turned down by the DCLG. Only four councils in the country have had additional licensing schemes approved.
The six wards were chosen because they have the highest concentrations of HMOs and the council receives the highest proportion of complaints from tenants living in those areas.
March 5, 2010