A London council has caught out a rogue lettings agency for illegally operating two properties, with issues ranging from gas safety through undersized rooms and on to lacking the appropriate HMO licences.
Olympia Estates Ltd, a letting agency based in Paddington, has been fined £25,000 following a long-running investigation by the Westminster council.
The letting agent didn’t apply for a House in Multiple Occupation licence on the two properties and, according to a statement from the council, was found to be trying to evade the licensing process.
The two properties, close to the company’s office, were required to be licensed as they had five or more people living in a shared property.
In addition some of the rooms were undersized and one of the properties had a gas leak.
Olympia Estates Ltd was ordered by a tribunal to pay a Civil Penalty Notice of £15,000 regarding one of the properties. With the second property, the agent settled with the council outside the tribunal for the sum of £10,000.
A further £5,000 was awarded to the council at a separate hearing brought by the council’s trading standards team as the company had also broken consumer law by failing to display full details of its agent fees on its website.
A council spokesman says: “Rogue landlords and letting agents are unwelcome in Westminster and we will crack down hard on anyone found to be flouting the rules. Our residents deserve safe and decent housing and hopefully a fine will send a clear message to the industry about how seriously we take this issue.”