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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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