Huge Fines and New London Licensing Schemes
Another week, another fine and licensing scheme announced. Here’s everything you need to know.
£300,000 fine for veteran landlord
Nirpaul Riat, who was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to charity, for has been hit with a huge £300,000 fine due to two DECADES of managing illegally converted houses. This is one of the largest ever fines given in Hounslow, by Isleworth Crown Court.
Riat illegally converted a property into 8 flats and also rented out an outbuilding in Osterley. He manages 22 properties in total, with many vulnerable tenants who were living in hugely below standard conditions. The appalling conditions included damp, rooms that were cramped and had little natural light, a lack of hot water and irregular heating
This is not Riat’s first fine – he was fined £20,000 in 2009 for illegally converting a property into flats in Hanworth and then refused to reinstate it as a single house. Riat now faces jail time if he does not pay the staggering £300,000 fine for, what Hounslow Council described as, ‘exploitation’ of his tenants for financial gain.
Councillor Tom Bruce said:
While these residents were left to languish in these appalling conditions, Nirpaul grew rich at their expense. I hope today’s verdict sends a message that we do not – under any circumstances – tolerate rogue landlords in Hounslow and will use the full force of the law to prosecute them.
More new London licensing schemes
Yes, more licensing nightmares, this time for those based in the London borough of Southwark as Southwark Council has been given the go-ahead for one of the UK’s largest selective licensing schemes.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove approved the scheme after a borough-wide additional licensing scheme for HMOs and a small, selective licensing scheme covering 6,000 properties was introduced last year. This was used as a pilot scheme for a new targeted approach to licensing, which divides selective licensing schemes into different designated areas, each tackling specific issues in that area, from neglected repairs, unresponsive landlords, and damp and mould. All of which we can agree are issues that need to be addressed.
Of the borough’s 23 wards, selective licensing has now been extended to 19, so if you have properties in any of the following areas, from 1st November this year, you will need a licence:
- North Walworth
- Nunhead and Queen’s Road
- Old Kent Road
- Camberwell Green
- Dulwich Hill
- Dulwich Wood
- London Bridge & West Bermondsey
- Peckham Rye
- Rye Lane
- South Bermondsey
- Surrey Docks
Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle believes this is a good move to protect tenants against poor standards of housing:
I’m happy to say that we can now press ahead with an extended licensing scheme, making it one of the biggest nationally. We know that by working with landlords to better manage standards we can make improvements and bring up the quality of housing, and the experience of renting for our residents.
As always, if you aren’t sure about licensing in your area of the country – speak to your local council! Not having the appropriate licence could cost you hugely in fines, so it’s worth a quick call to make sure. Better safe than sorry.