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Council admission led to property firm’s licensing fine cancellation

A property management company had its £5,000 selective licensing enforcement fine quashed after court found council had not followed process.

Nigel Lewis

ilford licensing fine property

A property management agency in London had its £5,000 fine for renting an unlicensed property overturned by a judge after a council admitted its enforcement team briefly ignored its own procedural guidelines, it has been revealed.

Property agency Tizero Ltd, which was looking after a property (pictured) in Ilford on behalf of the owner’s mother, was caught up in an aggressive enforcement campaign by Redbridge council during 2018/2019 to prosecute landlords operating properties without a licence.

It issued some 100 fines over a six-month period.

Prior to that the council had always initially engaged with landlords to persuade them to licence their properties, and only moved to prosecution if their attempts to coax them into action were rebuffed.

But it has now come to light following an investigation by a local paper that for at least a fortnight the council abandoned this approach and moved directly to fines under its selective licensing scheme.

Not appropriate

During a recently-uncovered July 2019 court case the judge highlighted that the council had ‘deviated from its own policy’ and, although it was entitled to do so, this was not ‘appropriate or reasonable’ because due process had not been followed.

Court documents show that Labinso’s offence was at the ‘mildest end of the scale’ and that no other issues in relation to the property were discovered by the council.

Therefore, the court concluded, a £5,000 fine was disproportionate, and it was overturned.

The Ilford Recorder has approached the council for confirmation whether other fines levied by the council against landlords were initiated in this manner.

Read more about selective licensing fines.

August 18, 2021

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