Tottenham Landlord Ordered to Refund £20,000 for Unlicensed HMO Property

A landlord in Tottenham has been compelled to refund a full year’s rent, totaling £20,000, to their tenants due to failing to license their House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). This penalty follows the landlord’s disregard of an initial warning, which resulted in a £2,500 fine.

In addition, two landlords in Wood Green faced Civil Penalty notices for similar licensing failures. After neglecting their licensing responsibilities and losing their appeal at the First Tier Tribunal, one landlord was fined £5,000, and the other £2,000.

Given that approximately 40% of Haringey’s population resides in privately rented properties, the council is firmly enforcing regulations to ensure safe and well-maintained living conditions. The action targets landlords who neglect their legal obligations to obtain necessary licenses, protecting the rights and safety of residents.

An HMO is defined as a property where at least three unrelated tenants reside, sharing amenities like bathrooms or kitchens. Since May 2019, landlords are required to obtain a license for letting properties that meet the HMO criteria.

Cllr Sarah Williams, Cabinet Member for Housing Services, Private Renters and Planning, commented on the council’s stringent approach: “Thanks to the hard work of council officers, legal action has been taken against landlords that have failed to license their properties. Haringey Council has a zero-tolerance policy to rogue landlords; in one case the landlord has been made to repay £20,000 in rent to their tenants.”

She further emphasized the importance of the licensing scheme in safeguarding the welfare of private renters and maintaining quality housing standards. Williams also encouraged residents, especially those in the private rented sector, to participate in the consultation for the new additional HMO licensing scheme, set to replace the current scheme next year.

The additional HMO licensing powers have enabled council officers to proactively address poor property conditions and identify at-risk properties. This initiative has resulted in 46 fines amounting to over £250,000 issued to landlords for licensing violations. The council’s commitment to this cause underscores the importance of regulatory compliance in ensuring a safe and accountable rental sector.