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Agency fined for its role in illegal HMO letting

A London lettings agency has been ordered to pay over £12,000 in a fine and costs for its part in running an illegal HMO.

The three-bedroom HMO was identified by Barking and Dagenham council as not having planning permission, either granted or pending, to change from a single dwelling.

The landlord, Husna Patel, was sent letters in January and March 2019 making her aware of the planning regulation requirements, however these were ignored, and an Enforcement Notice was served in April 2019 requiring the use of the HMO to be ceased within six months.


In January 2020 an inspection by council officers discovered that the property was still being occupied by two unrelated families who were sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities.

During further investigation, it was established that the property was managed by Woodland Property Management Ltd of Ilford.

Patel and Woodland Property Management Ltd were summoned to Barkingside Magistrates Court last May but Patel failed to attend and a warrant not backed for bail was issued. She surrendered to custody last June.

Patel and Woodland Property Management Ltd attended Barkingside Magistrates Court at the end of last month where they pleaded guilty.

Patel was ordered to pay a £5,000 fine, costs of £1,542.50 and £27,000 under the Proceeds of Crime legislation totalling £33,542.50.


Woodland Property Management Ltd was ordered to pay a fine of £7,500, costs of £1,542.50 and £3,000 under the Proceeds of Crime legislation, totalling £12,042.50.

A council spokesperson says: “Landlords operating in Barking and Dagenham must follow the rules we’ve set out to ensure that tenants are looked after properly. This particular landlord and property management company failed to do this and completely ignored requests from our officers. They’re now paying the price with a huge fine.”

  • Barry X

    This makes for depressing reading... as far as I can tell from the very limited information in this article, the only "crime" committed here was not buying a pointless Licence.

    Until fairly recently, and for as long as I can remember before that (and it is quite a long time because I've been a landlord since 1996) it has been perfectly normal to rent 2 or 3 bedroom properties to sharers. Indeed it was often a popular option for tenants as they could pool resources to save money, and of course might have been friends from college or something who actually enjoyed living together, and so already known each other a long time and move together from another house or flat... but still they are now always classed as "separate households living in a single dwelling".

    Of course its a very different matter if they are two or more couple each with children, and/or there is over crowding, etc. That really is a potentially concerning arrangement.

    Getting back to the case in this article though, unless the "two unrelated families" did include children and/or result in over crowding (for example more than five people in total, including all children and babies, in a 3 double-bedroom flat with only one bathroom) then I'm not convinced - without further evidence - that anyone was necessarily doing anything wrong.

    Simply not having a licence doesn't seem to be such a serious offence to me, although it was rather silly of them to ignore demands from the authoritarian/draconian council to buy one, and to try and stand up to them and/or just ignore them.

    Personally I think the real crime in these situations is usually committed not by the agents or their landlords but by the Local Authority abusing its position and powers to exploit vulnerable landlords/agents - I call them vulnerable because their are sitting ducks unable to escape. They are therefore vulnerable to being bullied and fleeced this way by these various flimsily justified schemes that are really nothing more than mafia-like territorial protection rackets.

    Obviously the huge and utterly disproportionate fines (described as confiscation of "proceeds of crime") are not only "plunder" and "booty" for the authorities but designed to "encourage the others" to fall into line and meekly pay-up.

    So far as I can tell, absolutely no "standards" are normally "improved" anywhere by any of these licencing schemes that usually target only completely - or fairly nearly completely - legitimate operators while normally ignoring or failing to even detect the genuinely rogue ones (as they are often too cunning and/or difficult to go after).

  • icon

    Looks like she did time ! Quite amazing, a man in Scotland has escaped jail for serious sexual offences including rxxe ! This won't allow me to say r a p e.


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