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Council prosecution lands illegal HMO profiteer with enormous fine

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A tenant who was illegally subletting a three-storey house in the Brunswick Park area has been ordered to pay nearly £20,000 after a successful Barnet Council prosecution.

Council news

Council news

Fariba Khosravikharshad was convicted at Willesden Magistrates’ Court for failing to acquire a licence and manage a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without reasonable excuse.

She came to the council’s attention after reports of antisocial behaviour and multiple people living in the Russell Lane house. Upon inspection, Barnet Council’s Private Sector Housing Enforcement Officers found that the house was occupied by five separate lettings and a total of five tenants. The property did not have a fire alarm system, leaving the tenants at risk.

Khosravikharshad had a tenancy for the house, but did not live there, instead subletting it without the consent of the owner or his agent. She received rent from the tenants and was responsible for managing and licencing the property.

If she had applied for a licence, council officers would have inspected the property and worked with the landlord to ensure the property was safe and antisocial behaviour was prevented.

Councillor Dan Thomas, Leader of Barnet Council, said: “This is an unusual case, as it was a tenant rather than a landlord who was convicted. However, we know that it has become increasingly common for tenants to sublet properties, putting other tenants at risk. We will crack down on all illegal HMOs to protect the safety of our residents whatever their circumstances.”

Khosravikharshad was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £3,732.26 in costs, plus a £170 victim surcharge, after a ruling by Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 26 September.

All Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the borough are required to be licensed, unless they fall within certain exempted categories. Landlords who fail to licence an HMO can expect the council to take the appropriate enforcement action against them. This may be prosecution or a Civil Penalty Notice of up to £30,000. To ensure they are meeting all the necessary legal requirements, landlords should visit: www.barnet.gov.uk/hmos

If landlords or managing agents need help understanding the law they can seek accreditation through the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme. Training is provided on legislation, housing standards and more, drawing on the expertise of local council experts. Find out more at: www.londonlandlords.org.uk

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