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Written by rosalind renshaw

A letting agent has been hit with a £50,000 bill after being prosecuted over failure to get licences for Houses in Multiple Occupation.

Ashdale Services, also known as Sylvan Estates, in north London, was taken to Tottenham Magistrates Court by Haringey Borough Council.

The company was fined for failing to get HMO licences for properties and for failing to maintain one of its properties.

Agency owner George Georgious admitted failing to provide functional smoke alarms, allowing bedrooms to become mouldy due to broken window sash cords and failing to fit stair hand rails.

Another landlord, Blue Ribbon Properties, also described as an agent, was also prosecuted by the council for its failure to replace faulty windows over the course of a year, despite repeated requests and court action from the council.

It pleaded not guilty to failing to maintain a flat in Handsworth Road in Tottenham, but lost its case at the magistrates’ court.

The company was given a £1,500 fine and was ordered to pay the council £1,250 in court costs.

Councillor John Bevan, cabinet member for the environment, said: "It is simply not good enough that big landlords, who should know better, fail to properly license and maintain their properties.

"The council will be putting increased resources into enforcing the HMO licence and other legislation.

"Both these cases reinforce our message to landlords that if they don't get the required licences and don't properly maintain their properties for tenants, they will be taken to task."


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    In 2006 I asked via our MP who should hold the licence for an HMO.

    The response from Baroness Andrews was:-

    "..if properties are subject to HMO licencing, the landlord can hold the licence or nominate someone elso such as a manager or agent (with their agreement) to be the licence holder. Whoever holds a licence must be the person who is most appropriate to hold the licence for the property and this is likely to be the person who receives the rent for the property."

    In the case of company lets, "for the purpose of HMO licencing it will be the client who will need to apply for a licence"

    Probably doesn't clarify matters, being a reply from the DCLG, but it supports IO that the landlord should be the responsible person and not the managing agent.

    If possible best to avoid HMOs really!!

    • 22 August 2013 15:38 PM
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    Good question Ray and my first thought too - that the agent must also own the properties.

    The other danger route in this for agents is managing for the Landlord, where LA may well regard the person collecting the rent as the manager no matter who is doing what - and so serve any notices and take subsequent action against the agent.

    Or of course most fatally to hold the licence in the agent's name. One would assume they would only do this to secure the management and make it difficult for the landlord to ever did-instruct, but a lunacy strategy if only being named as licence holder and not managing.

    Similar to holding deposits for tfo Landlords, few benefits lots of potential downside.

    • 22 August 2013 09:56 AM
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    Since when did a normal landlord become a Letting Agent?
    Are these people landlords, proper letting agents or both?

    • 22 August 2013 09:25 AM
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