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Estate agent fined for flouting housing law

  • Housing and Community

A Hendon estate agent that ‘specialises in HMO housing’ has been ordered to pay £7,150 after failing to register a home as a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO).

M Dream Property, of 29 Finchley Lane, was prosecuted after complaints about noise, overcrowding and anti-social behaviour at the property on the A41, Watford Way, Hendon. Legal action was launched against the firm by the Environmental Health team at Re, the joint venture between Capita and Barnet Council.

Company director Kristoff Milla, and M Dream Property, pleaded guilty to failing without reasonable excuse to have a licence at Willesden Magistrates Court on Thursday 5 September. Milla was ordered to pay £2,000 costs and a £2,500 fine, while his firm was ordered to pay an additional £2,500 fine and £150 victim surcharge.

Milla is a professional who manages a portfolio of properties from a lettings agency that has a sign in its window, stating: “We specialise in HMO housing”. As such, he was well aware of the need to licence the three-storey property, which was let to eight tenants sharing facilities.

Councillor Gabriel Rozenberg, Chairman of the Barnet Council Housing Committee, said: “It is not acceptable for landlords to wait for us to find their properties and only then comply with the law, months or years after letting it. Landlords are running businesses for which tenants pay high rents. As such it is their responsibility to ensure that they are aware of their legal responsibilities, and that these are complied with, to keep their tenants safe. We will take action against landlords or managing agents who fail to do this.”

All HMOs in the Barnet borough are required to be licensed, unless they fall within certain exempted categories. From Monday 1 October, HMOs occupied by five or more people will need to be licensed throughout England, not just those with three or more storeys. A valid application for a HMO licence must submitted by Monday 1 October, to be compliant with this new law. Read more about how to apply for a HMO licence in the Barnet borough.

If landlords or managing agents need help understanding the law they can seek accreditation through the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme. Training is provided on a legislation, housing standards and more, drawing on the expertise of local council experts. Find out more.

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