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Landlord ordered to pay £300k for "Huge mistake"

A London landlord has been ordered to pay more than £300,000 in fines and costs after multiple breaches of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) regulations, which included fire safety offences.

William Lao owned 16 properties in the London borough of Waltham Forest and had built a large roof and garden extensions to seven of the properties to convert them into flats, which in some circumstances doubled their size. He failed to apply for planning permission for the works and also made no attempt to gain any HMO licences. Waltham Forest Council served a number of Planning Enforcement Notices and seven enforcement notices for HMO breaches but Lao failed to comply with any of them.

Lao appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 30 January and pleaded guilty to seven breaches of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006. He was fined £73,500 and ordered to repay £217,758 of illegal earnings plus £10,000 towards costs. If the fails to repay his earnings within six months he will be forced to serve 30 months in prison. In addition to the financial penalties imposed, all of the works carried out the properties will now have to be demolished and the buildings returned to their original condition.

After the hearing, Waltham Forest Council deputy leader and cabinet member for environment councillor Clyde Loakes said: ‘Some of the issues date back almost five years. So we’re really pleased to have finally brought this rogue landlord to account and seen him rightly punished for a catalogue of breaches.’

Source: FRM Magazine

Date Published: 12/02/2015
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