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Bedford Landlord Fined For Unlicensed HMO

Bedford landlord has been prosecuted for operating an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Bedford Borough Council prosecuted Mr Fhalora of Ampthill Road, Bedford, in January for failing to obtain an Additional HMO Licence for the property that he manages on behalf of its owner. Mr Fhalora lets out the Brackley Road property to tenants.

The landlord was found guilty in his absence after entering a not guilty plea. As a result of this, he was fined £2,500 by Luton Magistrates Court. He was also told that he must pay the council’s full costs of £8,911.12 along with a victim surcharge of £170.

Bedford Borough Council introduced the Additional HMO Licensing scheme in 2013. It applies to properties rented out to three or more unrelated tenants who share facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms. These types of properties are subject to additional regulation to give greater protection to tenants who reside in them. The licences require landlords to invest in their properties, making them safer and improving their state of repair.

Mr Fhalora had been reminded by the council’s Community Regulation Team that he was required to license the property under the Housing Act 2004. However, the court heard that the rogue landlord had failed to act on the advice he was given by the council. He potentially risked the safety of his tenants and neglected his responsibilities as a landlord.

Portfolio Holder for Community Safety & Regulatory Services, Councillor Colleen Atkins, said: ‘Bedford Borough Council prioritises the safety of its residents by ensuring the Borough’s private rented sector is effectively regulated. An Additional HMO Licence is required for HMOs which are occupied by three or more unrelated people who share certain facilities in the household such as a kitchen or bathrooms. Anyone who owns or manages an HMO can check with the Council to see if they need to have a licence.’

Source: Residential Landlord

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Twickenham landlord prosecuted for letting out his house to more than five people without a licence

A Twickenham landlord has been fined nearly £5,000 for illegally renting out his property as a house of multiple occupancy (HMO).

Maksim Arnautov bought the three-storey home in Whitton Road, which is also where he lives, in 2012.

Under the Housing Act 2004, properties which have three or more storeys and are rented out to five or more people must have a license.

The council carried out an investigation last year and found that despite more than five people living in the property, Arnautov did not have a licence.

Following a hearing at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on January 9, Arnautov was found guilty of operating a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence.

He was fined £3,000, must pay a victim surcharge of £170 and £1,466 to the council in compensation.

Councillor Mark Boyle, Richmond Council’s cabinet member for housing, public health and community safety, said: “Following an investigation by council officers, this is a great result.

“This prosecution sends out a clear message that unscrupulous individuals cannot hide.

“It is our job to protect tenants’ safety and we will take appropriate enforcement action if landlords fail to obtain a licence or manage their properties.

“I am pleased that the courts are supporting the council in this approach through the sentence and fine issued.

“The growing issue of HMOs in our borough continues to be a problem.

“And whilst we will continue all our work on the ground, we will continue to make it clear to the Government that it must prioritise action over HMOs before sub-standard, over-crowded housing, and all its flow-on effects begin to impact the character and quality of life within our borough.”

The case comes one week after the Government announced a crackdown on HMOs.

Source: Richmond & Twickenham Times

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Newmarket Investment Landlord Hit With £33,000 Fine For 15 Charges

A rogue Newmarket landlord has been told he must pay almost £33,000 after being found guilty of 15 charges, 13 of which were under the Housing Act 2004.

Russell Wayne Price, of Lisburn Road, Newmarket, was prosecuted by Forest Heath District Council. The remaining charges not under the Housing Act related to Price’s failure to provide information when requested pertaining to his rental properties. At an earlier hearing he denied all charges.

The charges related to two properties in Lisburn Road, Newmarket, that were let as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Both properties were inspected in December 2016. They had each been subject to Prohibition Orders served in 2008 and 2009, banning their use as HMOs. Upon inspection, several safety concerns were revealed. They ranged from a lack of gas or electrical safety certificates to a loose electrical socket. Exposed pipework, stairs without a handrail, damp and mould were also discovered. Neither property was deemed to be habitable.

Price was found guilty of all 15 charges following a three-day trial. He was ordered to pay charges and fines totalling £25,900. He must also pay the council’s costs in bringing the prosecution which brought the total to £32,980.

District Judge Timothy King commented on the case: ‘There was a significant risk of harm to individuals.’

Forest Heath’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, said: “This should serve as a warning to any other rogue landlords across west Suffolk. Mr Price cut corners and didn’t provided safe accommodation to his tenants. In doing so he put their health and wellbeing at risk and jeopardised their safety. That is why I welcome the outcome of this case which sends a strong message to other rogue landlords. The safety of their tenants – our residents – is of paramount importance. They should not be exposed to inadequate fire safety, and the other health risks that this rogue landlord allowed. It is down to the hard work and perseverance of our housing enforcement team and the shared legal team, that we have achieved this result. I know that the vast majority of our landlords across west Suffolk are conscientious and work very hard to maintain housing standards for their tenants. That is why it is important that we take action against those few that don’t.’

Source: Residential Landlord