Great Leylands landlord fined £23,000 for running unlicensed HMO

Crime / Fri 24th May 2024 at 07:00am

THE landlord of a property in Harlow has been hit with over £23,000 in legal costs after being found guilty of operating an unlicensed and unsafe house in multiple occupation (HMO).

An HMO (also known as a house share) is a property inhabited by 3 or more unrelated people forming more than 1 household.

Ervis Xhaferi, landlord and owner of the HMO, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 9 May 2024 for operating an unlicensed HMO in Great Leylands. The judge fined him £16,200, as well as ordering him to pay a victim surcharge of £2,000 and court costs of £5,500.

The successful prosecution is the result of months of work by Harlow Council to bring the matter to court.

The case dates back to December 2022, when the council received a complaint from a member of the public about the property being converted into an HMO. Council officers attempted to engage with Mr Xhaferi on several occasions on the matter, but he repeatedly denied that the property was an HMO.

There were further complaints from the public, which prompted the council’s HMO Enforcement team to inspect the property. They found that the 3-bedroomed home had been converted into a 4-bed and housed six people. 

An HMO will require a mandatory licence if it is rented to 5 people or more who form more than 1 household. In Harlow, all HMOs also require planning permission.

Investigations also found that the property was unsafe and fell well below the required fire safety standards. Officers discovered significant hazards, including a lack of any working fire alarms, no fire rated doors and a loft room occupied without building control approval.

The council’s Legal and Environmental Health teams worked together to bring the case to court, where Mr Xhaferi pleaded guilty.

Commenting on the result, Councillor Nicky Purse, cabinet portfolio holder for sustainability and environment, said:

“This is a fantastic result and I want to thank all those members of the public who brought this matter to our attention, as well as the officers involved in bringing the case to court.

“As we work towards achieving our missions of protecting our communities and transforming Harlow’s housing, we will continue to robustly monitor HMOs in the town to ensure that they are fully licensed and meet all the required safety standards. 

“I hope that this result sends a clear message that we take the safety of Harlow’s residents seriously and that we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to protect our community.”

Operating an HMO which requires a licence but does not have one is punishable with a civil penalty of up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine on conviction.

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12 Comments for Great Leylands landlord fined £23,000 for running unlicensed HMO:

2024-05-24 09:00:22

Don’t think your safe with a 3 or 4 bed HMO, covered by Article 4 and unauthorised without planning permission.

Jack Markwell
2024-05-24 09:07:22

There are many more full of non-British chaps.

2024-05-24 09:15:08

Now perhaps HMRC will investigate.

2024-05-24 09:34:37

They will clamp down on the unlicensed ones but take no responsibility for the ones they licence. They should shut down the ones they licence that cause trouble

Tony WIseman
2024-05-24 15:24:40

I wonder how many people on the official housing list had to be bumped off it to house the people who were made homeless by closing down this HMO? Is that really a "fantastic result" Cllr Purse?

Looking for a rental
2024-05-24 15:41:03

The landlord should be never allowed to rent out again. Shame cll Purse don't look at all of us that are in a HMO and see the crap we have to put up with. £750 a wk for room. Shared bathroom with 3 others. Bad state of disrepair. Letting agent that don't give a damn. Boy wonder see fit to put the wait for council accommodation up to 7 yrs residence in Harlow from 5. I am a newly qualified pensioner and am forced to live like this through no fault of my own. The council don't and won't help me and my health is deteriating daily. I worked from 16 up til a year ago when I'll health forced my employer to let me go. I don't ask for much but I like many have been failed by this council

Chris s
2024-05-25 10:57:50

3 and 4 unrelated tenants in a house is still classed as an HMO and must follow safety regulations and apply for planning permission

2024-05-25 12:29:55

who do you contact my mother in law is living next to one loads of people in there mess evry where

Tony Wiseman
2024-05-26 08:22:26

Lez, contact Cllr Purse. Well you could do if the Harlow.gov.uk web site had a list of their email addresses! Or email Harlow Conservatives on [email protected]

2024-05-27 11:07:56

Is the garden tiger pub license HMO that's what it is now

2024-05-27 11:08:35

Is the garden tiger pub license HMO that's what it is now and looks bad

2024-05-30 18:51:43

Mmm so what about the seriously unscrupulous "property management" companies? Everyone knows the back handers and criminal behaviour that is allowed to go on unhindered by one agency in particular. It's Harlow's worst kept secret.

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