A south London property firm has been prosecuted by a local authority over its HMO management and may now have to repay 12 months’ rent, too.
AA Property and Construction Services Ltd pleaded guilty at Wimbledon Magistrates Court to failing to apply for a licence for a house in multiple occupation in Wandsworth.
By law, the landlord of the three-storey, five-bedroom property, rented by five unrelated tenants with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, should have applied to the council for it to be inspected and a licence issued.
The council asked AA Property and Construction Services Ltd, which lets out several other HMO-licenced properties in the borough, to apply for a licence along with documentation including electrical safety certification and a Gas Safe certificate.
Only after several warnings, and a visit to the property by officers from the council, was there any attempt to submit an application; then court proceedings were brought and the landlord changed its plea to guilty.
The court issued a fine of £3,000 plus a £170 victim surcharge and court costs of £1,346, totalling £4,516, due to be paid in full within 28 days.
The tenants are now eligible to apply to a First Tier Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order, which can entitle them to up to 12 months of their rent back.