Accused of HMO by Newham – Help

by Readers Question

10:48 AM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

Accused of HMO by Newham – Help

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Accused of HMO by Newham – Help

I have a buy to let in Newham and I have a Selective Licence. I rented out my property to a family of 2 and their family friend so that’s 3 tenants in total in May 2017. I included all the names of the tenants in the Tenancy Agreement.

Newham Council Enforcement Team have told me the house is HMO because I included all the names of the tenants and they intend to prosecute me, the prosecution process is now with their legal team not sure what that means. I have tried on numerous occasion to speak with the Enforcement Officer to remedy the situation but she wasn’t willing to listen.

The Enforcement Officer seems adamant she wants to take me to court when I tired to contact her for the next step forward. I am surprised having more than one person on the Tenancy Agreement constitutes to HMO and I am also surprised the attitude of the Enforcement Officer and Newham Council.

My view on Property Licencing Scheme has dramatically changed from this experience. I feel the Property Licence Scheme doesn’t always serve the best interests of Tenants or Landlords.

I wanted to know the best way to deal with Newham Council. They seem to be very unhelpful. I have written an email to Newham Council last week and I am waiting for their reply.

Thanks

John



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:50 AM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

Hi John,

What is Newham's exact definition for an HMO?

I thought it was more than 2 unrelated tenants, which would be a very close call and interpretation in this case.

Kais Malique

11:31 AM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

Hi Neil,

Its confusing. On the link provided Its says 2 or more but it also says HMO is 3 or more unrelated individuals.

https://www.newham.gov.uk/Documents/Housing/PropertyLicensingGuideLandlordsAndManagingAgents.pdf

Ross Tulloch

11:34 AM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

The HMO system I think is doing enormous damage to everybody. I am in Southwark. A couple, married or living together and a friend of theirs is sadly two family units. And three people.

The definition here for an HMO is two or more households and three or more people.

Sadly you are an HMO

The council is being very nasty and very silly. They need to talk to you

Grumpy Doug

11:36 AM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

Hi John. I'm not sure that Newham can redefine an HMO?

"A HMO is a house occupied by more than 2 qualifying persons, being persons who are not all members of the same family. A “qualifying person” is a person whose only or principal place of residence is the HMO."

In this case, the family counts as one - I assume that your family fits into one of the following

"You are considered to be a member of the same family if you are the spouse (or you live together as husband and wife), civil partner (or you live together as if you are civil partners), parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, nephew/niece of the other person."

The friend is just one more so no, not an HMO.

I am not an expert so as ever, please seek professional advice.

Ian Narbeth

11:43 AM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

John
Please, please get some proper legal advice. Do not rely on sites like Property118 (however good we are and I am a regular contributor)! You are facing prosecution and may end up with a substantial fine and a criminal record which in turn may prevent you from obtaining an HMO licence and which may need to be disclosed to your lenders and insurers. People on this site do not have all the facts, cannot give you comprehensive advice and do not accept legal responsibility for advice.

I am afraid it is going to cost you but please see a specialist housing lawyer who has experience of Newham Council without delay. The very fact that a qualified lawyer contacts the Council may affect how your case is dealt with.

Kais Malique

11:57 AM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

Can anyone recommend a good Lawyer?

shuey

12:23 PM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

page 3 of the document you linked to has an easier to understand flow chart. It also depends on your property; how many storeys does it have? Also have you filed an official complaint regarding this unreasonable approach by them?

Kay Landlord

12:24 PM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

John , they did the same to me for a group of 3 sharers who were there for years, their criteria documents were unclear when the selective licensing came into effect and it states that if the property was on 3 floors with 2 kitchen, we would need an HMO licence . My tenants left anyway and you should have been given the opportunity to remedy this ? How long have your tenants been there? Yes, it is very vicious for 3 tenants living there. Newham ignores that their homeless unit is now overwhelmed with applicants and their bill is astronomical. Most of us are good, lawful landlords, and the HMO regs desperately need some clarification around the 2 or more sharers. We should be allowed up to 3 on a selective license. Particularly as Newham regularly refuse HMO /planning applications anyway.

Grumpy Doug

13:17 PM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

So - in their own words

"4 Additional HMO Licensing
The additional licensing scheme of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will require all landlords who let a property that is occupied by 3 or more non-related occupiers that sharing some basic facilities or amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom to have a licence.

5. What is a HMO
A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property that is occupied by a 3 or more unrelated individuals/households who share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom, or do not have exclusive occupation of the whole property."

So, given that you have 2 related individuals plus a friend, I'm sure that your lawyer should be able to knock this on the head straight away

James Barnes

15:19 PM, 28th June 2017
About A year ago

My understanding of the definition of a HMO is 3 or more people forming 2 or more households, who share common facilities such as a bathroom and kitchen.

The family would form 1 household consisting of 2 people and the family friend would be a separate household. This to me makes your property a HMO.

I'm surprised by the Local Authorities unwillingness to give you a chance to deal with this informally at first but if they are insisting on enforcement, I'd suggest you need legal assistance.

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