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Six week amnesty over HMO licences announced

An amnesty on the licensing of houses in multiple occupation is being held in Barnet in north London following the successful prosecution of a landlord.

Owners and managers of illegally unlicensed HMOs have until July 31 to apply for a licence without fear of enforcement from Re, the joint venture enforement service operation by the London Borough of Barnet and Capita.

The amnesty comes after Knights Island Capital Ltd – trading under the name of Endeavour Living – and its two directors, Nikola Bonacic and Ben Patrick, were ordered to pay more than £10,000 in fines and costs for not having licensed a three-storey, semi-detached HMO in Golders Green.

Bonacic and Patrick pleaded guilty individually, and on their company’s behalf, to failing to license a HMO at Willesden Magistrates Court on May 26. The two directors and the company were each fined £2,000, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and full costs of £1,247.66.

In October last year, one of the eight tenants living at the house, contacted Re with complaints about the bin stores, poor water pressure, potentially dangerous electrics and to report that there had been no gas or fire safety checks since 2013.

Re wrote to Endeavour Living about the property but the company denied that it needed to be licensed. However, when environmental health officers visited the house on December 9, they found that it had been turned into eight bedsits and had only two smoke alarms, instead of the interlinked system it should have had. 

There were seven people living in the house, all sharing bathrooms and a kitchen, but tenants confirmed that until recently another tenant had also been living there.

“The company and directors in this case acted unscrupulously and held no regard for any of the tenants or their personal safety. The high fines and costs send a strong message that we are making sure these rogue landlords are held accountable. I am urging landlords to come forward during this month’s amnesty without fear of enforcement to get their properties licenced so that we can help make Barnet a better and safer place to live” says Re director Alun Parfitt.

Those who currently have unlicensed HMOs can contact Re’s environmental health team until July 31 with full details of their properties and will then need to make an immediate licensing application. Contact the team on 0208 359 7454.

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