Council achieves Banning Order on HMO letting agent

Liverpool City Council has successfully placed a Banning Order on a letting agent operating unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Trophy Homes Ltd was hit with the order relating to convictions from February 2023 including the failure to license two HMO properties.

The Banning Order was granted on Thursday, April 25, 2024, under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and will remain in place for four years.

As a result of the order, Trophy Homes Ltd will also be placed on the Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents, to which all housing authorities in England have access.

The order was granted by a First-tier Tribunal and prohibits the letting agent from letting housing in England, engaging in English letting agency work, engaging in English property management work, or doing two or more of those things. Breaching the Banning Order is a criminal offence.

Existing tenancies are not subject to the ban for a period of six months, meaning Trophy Homes is prevented from granting any new tenancies, but current tenancies can end or assign without significant impact on current occupiers.

Earlier this month, Trophy Homes was charged upwards of £250,000 for the failure to license their HMO properties.

Residents who have concerns about their rented home can search the register of licensed properties or report poor quality conditions or landlord.

Louise Harford, Liverpool City Council’s Interim Director of Housing, said: “We will always work with landlords and letting agents in the city – but we will also always take action where it is needed to keep tenants safe.

“It is extremely disappointing that Trophy Homes has not taken their responsibilities as letting agents seriously and this Banning Order will give them a substantial amount of time to get their own house in order.”

She added: “The granting of this order will also send a further signal that the council’s Private Sector Housing team will not tolerate landlords and letting agents who ignore their legal obligations.”

Liverpool City Council requires all HMO properties with five or more people to be licensed. HMO licensng is vital to ensure licence holders keep their properties to a decent standard.

HMOs pose a higher risk to safety than other rental properties. A person living in an HMO is six times more likely to die in a fire compared with a single occupancy property. Due to the greater number of persons in the property, there is an increased chance of rapid wear to vital safety features like fire doors and smoke alarms. In bedsit HMOs, there will be multiple sets of cooking facilities in all bedrooms, which also increases the likelihood of a fire occurring

Students living in HMOs can be vulnerable residents, as they may be living independently, perhaps in a different city or country for the first time and are unaware or worried about complaining to their landlord, or the council.

Failure to let a property without the appropriate licence is a criminal offence, and as the officers for all companies were aware of their requirements, they are individually culpable.

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