Potters Bar landlord ordered to pay nearly £7K

PUBLISHED: 15:21 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:21 24 November 2017

Oakfield Close, Potters Bar.
Picture: Google Street View

Oakfield Close, Potters Bar. Picture: Google Street View

Archant

A landlord who shirked a £500 licence fee has been left facing a bill of more than ten times the original amount following legal action brought by Hertsmere Borough Council.

Potters Bar landlord Andrew Harvey was ordered to pay nearly £7,000 when he appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court on Wednesday, November 22, after he failed to get a House in Multiple Occupation licence for his Oakfield Close property from March 2012 until June 2017.

Under the law, it is a criminal offence for anyone who controls or manages a house of three or more storeys which is occupied by five or more people in more than one household, to do so without a licence.

The court heard how Harvey, 50, of Manchester Close, Stevenage, failed to respond to emails and correspondence from the borough council on multiple occasions over the five years.

When the property was checked by the council’s private sector housing officer in June, five veterinary students were found to be living there.

Councillor Jean Heywood, portfolio holder for housing, said: “Everybody has a right to live in decent accommodation, and the council takes its responsibilities to enforce basic living standards very seriously.

“As a landlord, you are responsible for the welfare of your tenants and there are strict rules in place to ensure certain conditions and duties are met. This is for the protection of all.

“The vast majority of landlords are happy to work with us to ensure they are managing their properties and looking after their tenants according to the letter of law.

“However, we will not hesitate to take other landlords who deliberately fail in their duties to court, where they could receive unlimited fines.”

In his defence, Harvey claimed he had not received emails from the council.

However, in sentencing the magistrates said they believed Harvey was aware the property should have had a licence and that it was his duty to ensure that a licence was obtained.

Harvey was fined £5,542 and ordered to pay £1,319.29 in costs, plus a £125 victim surcharge.

A House in Multiple Occupation licence costs £542 for five years.

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