William Eichler 22 August 2017

Council prosecutes letting agent for issuing ‘sham licences’

Council prosecutes letting agent for issuing ‘sham licences’ image

Islington Council has successfully prosecuted a letting agent for issuing ‘sham licences’ in the first prosecution of its kind.

Green Live Ltd was fined £20,500, including compensation for the two victims of the sham licences, after they were reported to the council’s (housing) preventions and options team.

The letting agent issued the licences instead of tenancy agreements. They were designed to make the occupiers believe they had no right to challenge eviction or be given legally defined notice periods or minimum occupancy term periods.

The occupiers also did not benefit from the statutory deposit protection scheme because the agreement was not a tenancy.

The victims of the sham licences first contacted the (housing) preventions and options team at Islington Council in 2016 because they were not able to recover their deposits.

The team then contacted trading standards to alert it to concerns about the sham licences issued to the victims, which triggered an investigation culminating in prosecution.

Green Live Ltd pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 relating to the issuing of licences to occupy where the fact gave rise to a tenancy.

The company also pleaded guilty to a further offence under the regulations of using a letting agency association logo where it was not a member.

Green Live Ltd was fined £11,000 for the two sham licences issued and £5000 for the misuse of a logo. The two victims of the sham licences were awarded compensation totalling £3000 and Islington Council was awarded costs of £1500.

‘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.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Assistant to the Leader

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£33324 - £35751 per annum + n/a
Communities, Environment and CentralCorporate Governance & Democratic ServicesSenior Assistant to the Leader, Leader's Office PO1 (£33,324- £35,751) T England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Early Support Consultant

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£31,346 - £33,782
We are looking to hire candidates with experience of Whole Family Working and the Supporting Families program to join us as... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Governance Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£23,080 - £24,491
As a Governance Officer, you will work as part of the Homes and Neighbourhoods team that... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Head of Finance and Customer Services (S151)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Salary to £67k (plus £3k car allowance)
As a large and successful district council, North West Leicestershire has every reason to be confident about the future. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Community Co-Ordination Manager

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£37,890 - £39,880
Do you want to be a part of a high performing team, developing creative projects that benefit the community? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue