A ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to criminal landlords has led to landlords renting out properties in the London borough of Brent shelling out record fines. The fines paid by landlords to the council have amounted to over £500,000 in the last 18 months.
The local council’s drastic approach to improving the sector has led to a surge in fines and prosecutions in the borough. Brent Council started clamping down on rogue landlords at the start of last year. This was having made the decision to up its enforcement activity in order to root out rogue landlords. An average of two to five prosecutions now take place in Brent each month.
A total of 44 prosecutions occurred in the borough during the year 2016/2017. These prosecutions have led to 89 convictions in relation to landlord licensing and housing management charges. Furthermore, the council’s enforcement team carried out approximately 600 raids in Brent this year.
Head of private housing services in Brent, Spencer Randolph, said: ‘The half a million-pound landmark sends a clear message to landlords in Brent. If you don’t have the correct licence, you will face hefty fines and a criminal record in court. We are especially targeting our enforcement activity on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). So if you’re a landlord letting a property to three or more people and they are not all related you need to get the property licensed quickly before you feel the full force of the law.’
He continued: ‘Our aim is to improve the living standards for tenants in Brent who are renting private accommodation. This means taking a zero-tolerance approach to rogue landlords who ignore the laws. No renter in Brent should be forced to put up with cramped, hazardous and unhygienic conditions. Residents who report their landlords can do so anonymously.’