HMO – Camden Council sending letters to the mortgage provider?

by Readers Question

11:34 AM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

HMO – Camden Council sending letters to the mortgage provider?

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HMO – Camden Council sending letters to the mortgage provider?

Over the last year I have submitted many HMO applications to Camden Council so to comply with their new additional HMO scheme (note: they are the only borough currently who are imposing this onto their landlords).

After submitting the application and having had a visit from the inspector we have carried out the works in accordance to their schedule of works and provided proof to them which they are happy with so we are now under the impression that everything is going accordingly as they did not arrange for a further visit.

After several weeks had passed we received a letter from our mortgage provider advising us that they had received a letter from the council advising them that we have applied for a HMO application which our mortgage provider advised us we are breaching our mortgage terms and condition. We then had to write back to the mortgage broker advising them that they had a different definition of a HMO compared to the councils definition and that we have not breached their terms and conditions in anyway what so ever.

They then asked for an AST which we then provided. Even though we have provided all the relevant information to the mortgage company they still blocked our account. We then got the council to write a letter to us giving their definition of a HMO which we then forwarded to the mortgage provider and after voicing our frustration with the way they treated us as a customer we wanted to leave and go elsewhere they then gave in and unblocked our account.

We have received this letter for several properties and it is just so frustrating as the issue lies in the definition of a HMO and the fact that we have not breached our terms and condition what so ever with our mortgage provider yet we still received these letters advising that we have breached their terms is very worrying and blocking our account is just going over the top.

Has anyone experienced this issue?

If so, how did you deal with this?

Robert



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:36 AM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

Hi Robert,

You could ask for a copy of the Council's GDPR privacy policy and ask where you gave them permission to write to your lender.

Simon Williams

12:04 PM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

From recollection, Councils consider themselves bound by the legislation to inform "interested persons" of their intention to grant an HMO licence and so it is certainly normal in Cambridge where I have 2 HMOs, for the council to write to the lenders. However, I have the old-style big HMOs, so are already on specialist HMO mortgages.

I agree that with licensing now being extended to a much wider group of HMOs, this must cause problems. This really is something that the Council for Mortgage Lenders should be advising its members about and if you are with the RLA or NLA, you should advise them to talk to the lenders to help resolve this confusion. The basic definition of an HMO is any property with shared facilities with more than 2 households, so a three bedroom flat with 3 sharers is (and always was) an HMO but whereas before it did not usually need licensing, it is now increasingly common for licensing to be needed and so gets on the lender's radar screen.

If your mortgage T's and C's don't exclude sharers, then you should be ok - though often they will require all tenants to be on one tenancy contract.

I can imagine all sorts of hassle here explaining that your property hasn't changed at all - just the law on licensing. Sadly this is a sign of the times... who would be a landlord in 2018?

Mike

12:05 PM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

That was exactly my point too, the Council had no right to contact your mortgage company what so ever, they have clearly breached the data protection rule, string them!

Stephen Reynolds

12:22 PM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

Hackney have just had to delay their scheme which was due to come into force on the 2nd of December until February. Poor communication and confusion (quelle surprise) as to what constitutes a HMO. Also mandatory licensing of certain areas of the borough and not all. I really hope I get a visit as I will be dragging them off to my neighbours house. They have been living with cardboard taped over broken windows for the previous 2 winters. Their landlord is ........Hackney Council.

Yvonne Francis

12:38 PM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

When I apply for my HMO license I have to ensure I have informed all 'interested parties' and I imagine a mortgage provider would be one of them. So if you did not inform them, then I am sure the council have the right to do so.

James Barnes

12:43 PM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

Have a look at The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006 which is available at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/373/pdfs/uksi_20060373_en.pdf

Without pasting the whole of it in, the relevant parts are below:

Paragraph 5. The HMO licence applicant must give the following information about the application to every relevant person...

Paragraph 6 - Nothing in paragraph (5) precludes an applicant from supplying a copy of the application, or other information about the application, to a relevant person.

Paragraph 9 - For the purposes of this regulation a “relevant person” is any person is
(a) who, to the knowledge of the applicant, is—
(i) a person having an estate or interest in the HMO or house that is the subject the application

All Local Authorities have to contact mortgage providers as "relevant persons" in terms of HMO licence applications. Not only that, as the applicant you are obliged to notify your mortgage provider when making an application.

John Walker

13:06 PM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

I am in the fortunate position of having all my s/c flats mortgage free, so even though they are classified as HMOs, I shall not be faced with the problems others are experiencing. The LA in which all my properties are located has not so far proposed to licence accommodation of this type, though for how long if JC&co. get into power will that last? We LLs are already registered with Rentsmart Wales, along with all our properties.

Mike W

13:49 PM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

Robert,
The issue is the heavy handed approach by the mortgagee. Did you complain? What actual response did you get? An apology?
I have frequently come across cases (when remortgaging a property) that the lender does not have an understanding of their own policy. In one case I declared all (including that it was an HMO) on the application but the valuer, appointed by the lender, said: excellent property but you have a problem - it's an HMO and they don't lend on HMOs. I laughed and said read the website. But the valuer put in his report and sure enough a few days later the lender pulled the plug. However I then complained and quoted their own website and stated that if they did not re-instate the offer I would complain to the Ombudsman. They backed down.

Anne Nixon

15:39 PM, 17th December 2018
About a month ago

Having applied for my HMO licence I was informed that the 'primary fire exit' from one of the rooms was non compliant so on 30.10.2018 I emailed the LHA asking what measures I needed to take in order to be compliant.
After getting no reply from them I instead received out of the blue a prohibition order for that room - bad enough and I was mortified by this as I had been awaiting guidance from them, but I have now received a letter from my lender asking what I am going to do to rectify the matter, asking for 3 months bank statements and the ASTs.
I am a good landlord, totally conscientious and pro-active in all matters and I am absolutely gutted at all this - my first reaction is that I'm not even sure I want to be a landlord any more.

Mick Roberts

20:36 PM, 17th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

I know nothing of HMO's and not had time to come on here for a bit.

But your statement is shocking and is similar to what we are experiencing with Nottingham Selective Licensing.

The Council as same in your case are creating PROBLEMS WHERE THERE WASN'T A PROBLEM BEFORE! And the end loser is the tenants.

What they are doing to the good Landlords and good tenants is disgraceful.

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