Brent Council recently raided a property in Wembley and discovered 19 tenants in occupation.
Overcrowded properties have always been an issue in the private rental sector. However, the problem appears to be on the increase resulting in a number of prosecutions of unscrupulous landlords. Enforcement officers of Brent Council raided a property in Wembley and discovered 19 tenants who were all paying £1,000 a week in rent.
Enforcement officers also discovered a garage that had been turned into 2 bedrooms and a shed that was in the process of also becoming a bedroom, both without planning permission. Furthermore, fire alarms in the property were in a state of disrepair.
The landlord failed to obtain a mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence and it appears that the police and council were acting on a tip off when they carried out the raid. Intelligence about HMO breaches are often shared by local councils and the police and in some cases the UK Border Agency.
Failing to obtain an HMO licence is a criminal offence and local authorities are taking positive steps to prosecute those breaking the law. Retrospective applications can be made however there is a risk of prosecution for the offence already committed and so landlords should seek legal advice prior to submitting any papers.