Upper-Tier Tribunal success for council against landlord
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has successfully defended two Civil Penalty Notices (CPNs) at Upper Tribunal that it served on a landlord who had breached safety regulations.
The local landlord, Ms Wang, had been issued two fines by the council following an inspection of a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) she owned in Hatfield. The council issued the notices under section 249A of the Housing Act 2004. These proposed penalties totalling £21,000 for faults found in the house, including inadequate smoke detectors, damp and mould and obstructions to fire escape routes.
However, the landlord appealed to the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT), which ruled that the two notices of intent to impose financial penalties issued by the council lacked the detail and clarity needed for her to make representations against them. This, the First-Tier Tribunal said, invalidated them.
The council appealed against that ruling, citing the phone calls and correspondence between both parties about the works needed to make the HMO compliant with regulations following the property inspection.
The Upper-Tier Tribunal agreed with the council, with the Deputy Chamber President further stating that the procedure adopted by the FTT was unfair and directed that the case should be heard again by the First-Tier Tribunal with a differently constituted panel.
Councillor Lynn Chesterman, OBE, said:
“We will always support and educate the landlord to rectify any breaches of HMO regulations as we did in this case, and issuing a CPN is the last resort. We have a successful PAL (Partnership Accreditation for Landlords) Scheme that supports and promotes accredited landlords and partner agents. I’d like to thank our officers for their hard work in this process and in enabling us to return to the landlord’s appeal at the First-Tier Tribunal for a rehearing”.