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Agents claimed to be sub-letting home as HMO without landlord’s knowledge fined nearly £40,000

A letting agency and several of its personnel who were involved in renting a property in order to then sub-let it as a HMO without the landlords’ knowledge have been slapped with fines totalling tens of thousands of pounds.

Easy Let Agency in Brent, London, whose personnel also operate under the name Focus Property Management Ltd, has been prosecuted at Willesden Magistrates Court for licensing and housing offences.

Both firms and several individuals associated with the businesses have been handed penalties in two separate court hearings last month, according to Brent Council.

In the first case, the owners of a five-bedroom terrace house in Gowan Road, Willesden, rented out their property to Claudio Crisafulli who was working as a freelance estate agent for Easy Let.

Crisafulli then illegally sub-let the house as an HMO behind his landlords’ backs.

Neighbours in Gowan Road complained to Brent Council about lots of people coming and going from the property.

Investigating officers found it difficult to track down the people responsible because Easy Let Agency was listed under a false address.

Easy Let company director Marcio Da Silva was fined £2,000 for failure to licence and a further £2,000 for breach of management regulations as well as £1,670 in costs on January 25.

Fellow director, Marcio Auriello Do Prado, was fined £3,000 for failure to license and £3,000 for breach of management regulations alongside £1,670 fines.

Claudio Crisafulli was fined £400 for failure to license and £400 for a breach of management regulations on top of £40 costs.

The agency itself was also hit with a £5,000 fine and £170 in costs.

The total fines and costs for the case amounted to £19,180.

In a separate sentence hearing on January 30, Focus Property Management Ltd was fined a total of £20,229 for management regulation and licensing breaches for another rented property in Tower Road, Willesden Green.

The matter is still subject to court proceedings and so few further details are available.

Cllr Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “We will pursue estate agents and sub-letters who operate outside the law all the way to court.

“Sadly, we have seen that rogue operators in the private rented sector disrupt neighbourhoods and make tenants’ lives a misery.

“Brent Council will do everything to improve the standard of living in Brent.”

Source: Property Industry Eye