Planning and Housing

22.08.17

London council wins first of its kind legal battle against letting agent

Islington Council in London has successfully prosecuted a letting agent for falsely issuing renters “sham licenses” that suggested residents had no right to challenge eviction, in the first trial of its kind in England.

The ‘sham license’ was issued instead of a tenancy agreement by the agent, and also gave no statutory protection for deposits.

It led the occupier of the property to believe they had no right to challenge an eviction or be given legally defined notice periods or minimum occupancy term periods.

And now the company, Green Live Ltd, has been fined £11,000 for the two sham licenses, and £5,000 for the misuse of a logo, pleading guilty to both offences.

The issue was first alerted to the council after the victims of the sham contacted the Housing Preventions and Options team at the local authority in 2016, as they were not able to get their deposit back.

This led to the team contacting Trading Standards to alert it to concerns about the license – leading to the case going to court and a successful prosecution.

“We want everyone in Islington to have a decent, secure home, and to be protected from illegal and precarious housing conditions,” said Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development.

“This case, which we believe is the first of its kind in the country, shows we will take action where letting agents break the law and issue sham licences. 

“We will not tolerate illegal practices like sham licences in Islington and if we become aware of any similar cases we will investigate with a view to prosecution.”

Top Image: Berezko

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