Olympia Estates Ltd, a letting agent based in Paddington, has been fined £25,000 for illegally operating two properties, following a long-running investigation by the Westminster City Council’s Housing Standards Taskforce.
The letting agent didn’t apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence on the two properties and were found to be trying to evade the licensing process.
The two properties in Star Street, close to the company’s office, were required to be licensed as they met the requirement of five people living in a shared property.
Some of the rooms were undersized and one of the properties had a gas leak, which required the attention of the gas supply regulators.
Olympia Estates Ltd was ordered by a tribunal to pay a Civil Penalty Notice of £15,000 regarding one of the properties. With the second property, the agent settled with the council outside the tribunal for the sum of £10,000.
A further £5,000 was awarded to the council at a separate hearing brought by the council’s Trading Standards team as the company had also broken consumer law by failing to display full details of its agent fees on its website.
Cllr Adams Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Licensing said “Rogue landlords and letting agents are unwelcome in Westminster and we will crack down hard on anyone found to be flouting the rules. Our residents deserve safe and decent housing and hopefully a fine will send a clear message to the industry about how seriously we take this issue.”
The Housing Standards Taskforce’s goal is to achieve high quality housing in Westminster by investigating and prosecuting those landlords and Letting Agents who are putting the residents in the area at risk.
The group, made up of environmental health officers, Trading Standards, planning enforcement and city inspectors, aims to make sure everyone has the right to a safe home.
Details of Westminster cases can be found on the Rogue Landlord and Agent checker: https://www.london.gov.uk/rogue-landlord-checker