HMO landlord must repay £32,000 housing benefits

A landlord who illegally let rooms in unlicensed HMOs has been ordered to pay back £32,000 housing benefit a council paid him for giving homes to tenants.

Mehmet Parlak was prosecuted by Haringey Council for not licensing his HMO properties and not maintaining acceptable management standards.

He had ignored warnings from the council to licence his North London properties.

A Residential Property Tribunal ordered him to repay the council the £32,278 in housing benefit payments he had received for two properties.

The ruling is the first time the council has won repayment when a landlord has failed to licence a mandatory HMO.

Councillor Nilgun Canver said the result was good news and that he hoped landlords who do not licence their HMOs to avoid maintenance and safety inspections would heed the warning.

Landlords should not think they can save money by not getting the correct licence as the council will take steps to reclaim any benefit paid out, he continued.

The tribunal said Parlak should reach an agreement with the council to repay the money in instalments.

Another landlord who was fined for the illegal conversion of a house into 12 flats is appealing against the order.

Salah Ali is fighting the record £1.4 million fine made at Norwich Crown Court last September. The Wembley landlord was ordered to pay within six months or face 10 years in prison.

He is now taking the case to the Court of Appeal. The outcome of the initial case is believed to be the highest confiscation order ever granted for a planning offence in the country.

Ali was also fined £4,000 for breaching planning regulations and faced legal costs of nearly £35,000. A restraint order was made so that he could not dispose of assets before fulfilling his repayment obligations.

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