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08 January 2015
A landlord has been fined £4500 for several offences relating to an unlicensed property in a state of disrepair, including a broken fire alarm system, an obstructed means of escape in case of fire, and lack of fire resisting doors.
Concerns over conditions at the property and its status were raised when one of the tenants complained to the local council about the poor living conditions. Following investigation, an environmental health officer from the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Enforcement Team determined the property to be an unlicensed and unsafe HMO in disrepair. It was also infested with cockroaches.
The landlord pleaded guilty to being in control of an unlicensed HMO and was fined £2000 for failing to obtain a licence. He also pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 – the three mentioned above and two for disrepair –and was fined £500 per offence.
Councillor Ed Turner, Board Member for Finance, Asset Management and Public Health, said: "It is good that this landlord has been brought to book for running a cockroach-infested property in the way he did. Landlords who fail to meet their responsibilities to their tenants and the wider community should be in no doubt that they will be prosecuted, and the courts are now imposing substantial fines."
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.