A tenant in London has been fined £16,000 for sub-letting a house illegally as an HMO in a move that many in the industry will welcome as councils have begun to bear down heavily on agents and landlords who break the rules.
The tenant, who has been named as Fariba Khosravikharshad, was found by Barnet enforcement officers to be sub-letting the property without the landlord or agent’s permission to five unconnected people but without any of the safety features of an HMO, including a fire alarm system.
Khosravikharshad had sub-let the three-storey house but did not live there but because she received the rent from the tenants, was responsible for licencing the property, even though she was sub-letting it illegally.
At a hearing at Willesden Magistrates Court she was fined £16,000 plus costs of £3,732 and a victim surcharge of £170. The maximum fine for such a breach of HMO rules is £30,000.
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.”
Like all local authorities in England, all HMOs must in Barnet must be licenced unless they fall within certain exempted categories.