LANDLORD AND LETTING AGENT FINED £3,000 EACH FOLLOWING FLAT FIRE / LAMBETH TO RAISE MILLIONS FROM DEVELOPERS WITH COMMUNITY LEVY
LANDLORD AND LETTING AGENT FINED £3,000 EACH FOLLOWING FLAT FIRE
A landlord and a letting agent have been hit with heavy fines for failing to license their property after a fire broke out at their own address.
The owner and the letting agent both of London Road, Thornton Heath, were each ordered to pay £3,000 after being found guilty at Croydon magistrates’ court of failing to license a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Seven people had to be led to safety by fire crews following a blaze at the flat in January, as well as five others from the neighbouring property.
An inspection by council housing enforcement officers found there were five people living in the flat at the time of the fire, all of whom paid £150 per month to the letting agent.
“But the letting agent did not have an HMO licence, which is required by law when there are more than three unrelated people renting a property” said Croydon council in a statement.
“Following a previous inspection in 2012, the owner agreed to empty the unlicensed flat after it was found to be in use as an HMO.
“Yet he since let it out to the letting agent, who in turn rented it out as an HMO despite the warnings given by the council.
“In addition to the fines, both defendants were made to pay £2,500 in court costs.”
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “It was a miracle that nobody was seriously injured or killed in this fire.
“This case goes to show the potential dangers of an unregulated private rental sector, which is why we are consulting over proposals to introduce a landlord licensing scheme which will give protection to private tenants from rogue landlords.
“I’d also like to praise the London Fire Brigade, who notified us immediately about the fire and provided evidence in court.”
Norbury fire station manager Bob Penny said: “Landlords have a clear duty under the law to ensure that the people renting their premises are living in a safe environment.
“We work closely with the council to ensure that they are not ignoring those responsibilities and this fine should send a clear message to landlords about the consequences of not taking those responsibilities seriously.
“I’d also like to commend our firefighters who attended the original fire and helped to support the council’s prosecution by giving evidence during the court case.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
LAMBETH TO RAISE MILLIONS FROM DEVELOPERS WITH COMMUNITY LEVY
Lambeth council says it could raise £32.5 million over the next five years from a new charge on developments that came into force on October 1st.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) allows local authorities to raise funds towards infrastructure from some new developments in a similar way to how Section 106 system currently works.
Lambeth’s CIL will apply to a range of new developments, over 100 square metres or creating a new dwelling, which is granted planning permission after 1st October.
Major new infrastructure is needed in Lambeth over the next few years and this money will go some way to paying for it, say Lambeth.
The scale of CIL charges has been developed following a lengthy consultation process and varies according to the type of development and its location. Social housing, developments by charities and self-build homes are exempt.
Cllr Jack Hopkins cabinet member for growth and jobs, said; “ Lambeth is attracting investment on a large scale and the new CIL will help us manage growth so that everyone in the borough benefits from the spoils of development.
“We will continue to work with our partners and the GLA to close funding gaps so Lambeth continues to be a truly sustainable place to live and work.
“It’s absolutely vital that ambition is matched by opportunity and the Lambeth CIL is an important part of making sure that happens.” (Source: Lambeth council press release)