A letting agent in Haringey, London has been fined £50,000 for failing to have licences for its Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The agent was also fined for failing to maintain one of its properties.
An HMO is a house shared by more than two people who are not members of the same family. They include accommodation such as bedsits, student houses and B&B guesthouses. HMOs need to be registered and are subject to a number of safety standards. In the Haringey case the landlord Ashdale Services admitted to being unlicensed and for failing to provide functional smoke alarms and failing to fit stair hand rails.
Haringey Borough Council’s, cabinet member for the environment, Cllr John Bevan said: “It is simply not good enough that big landlords, who should know better, fail to properly licence and maintain their properties. The council will be putting increased resources into enforcing the HMO licence and other legislation.”
According to James Burgoyne, Director, Brunel Professional Risks the case is a timely reminder for Estate Agents and Letting Agents about the importance of adhering to regulatory requirements. “Regulatory fines are not covered by professional indemnity insurance, but evidence of a penalty would put an insurer on notice that an agent represented a potentially higher risk – with consequences on terms & premiums offered. With many multidisciplinary estate agencies also offering letting agency and valuation services, it highlights the importance of proper risk management in all areas of agents’ and surveyors’ businesses.”