A Bath landlord has been ordered to pay a total of £2,600 for illegally operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) following a successful prosecution by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The landlord pleaded guilty to failing to licence a licensable HMO under the Council’s Additional Licensing scheme, which is enforced by the Housing Act 2004, and was ordered to pay a £1,000 fine, £1,500 costs and a £100 victim surcharge by Bath Magistrates Court on Monday, 26th April.
The Council brought forward the prosecution after inspectors discovered that the HMO property was operating without a licence and had fire safety issues, including a defective fire alarm system and a dangerous layout with key locks on bedroom doors which could prevent a quick escape during a fire.
The property is now licenced and remedial works have been carried out to bring the property up to current safety standards.
Councillor Liz Richardson (Conservative, Chew Valley North), Cabinet Member for Homes & Planning, said: “We are pleased with the result of this prosecution and that the court recognised the seriousness of the offence.
“The Additional Licensing Scheme was brought in to improve the condition and management of HMOs and protect tenants by making homes safe and healthy places to live and we will not take any non-compliance lightly.
“The Council will always try to work in partnership with landlords and agents to improve housing standards and in the majority of cases landlords work hard to comply, but where there are clear breaches of legislation the Council will take strong enforcement action in order to safeguard tenants.
“We want to ensure that those living in HMOs, as well as those living in the local neighbourhood, can enjoy a good quality of life.”
Since the Council introduced the Additional Licensing scheme in Bath and North East Somerset in January 2014, 15 cautions have also been issued to landlords for failing to licence properties, including five since January 2016.
The Council’s Additional Licensing Scheme under the Housing Act 2004 specifies that landlords within the designated HMO area must apply for a licence if they want to operate an HMO, which helps to ensure that occupants are living in safe and well managed properties.
The designated area covers the Council’s electoral Wards of Oldfield and Westmoreland, a large part of Widcombe and small sections of the adjoining Wards of Bathwick, Lyncombe, Southdown and Twerton.
A review is to be undertaken this year by the Council to look at the standard and condition of HMOs in the area and how the Council can better manage the growth of HMOs.
As part of the review, the Council will be encouraging people to have their say and come forward with their views. Further details of how you can get involved will be announced in due course.
For more information on HMOs in the area, visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/hmos.