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Huge fines for landlord and agent found operating an unauthorised HMO

A landlord and managing agent have been ordered to pay combined fines and costs in excess of £45,000 for illegally running a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the borough of Barking & Dagenham.

The three-bedroom HMO was identified by Barking and Dagenham Council’s Private Sector Housing Team in December 2018 who informed the Planning Enforcement Team that planning permission had not been granted or applied for to change the property from a single dwelling.

The landlord, Mrs Husna Patel, was sent letters in January and March 2019 making her aware of the planning regulation requirements, however these were ignored, and an Enforcement Notice was served in April 2019 requiring the use of the HMO to be ceased within six months.

On the 8 January 2020, an inspection by the council’s Planning Enforcement Team discovered that the property was still being occupied by two unrelated families who were sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities. During further investigation, it was established that the property was managed by Woodland Property Management in Ilford.

Patel and Woodland Property Management were summoned to Barkingside Magistrates Court on 31 May 2022. Mrs Patel failed to attend and a warrant for her arrest was issued. Eventually, Patel and Woodland attended Barkingside Magistrates Court on 28 July 2022 where they pleaded guilty. They were sentenced in March 2023 with Patel ordered to pay a total of £33,543 and Woodland Property Management Ltd £12,043.

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