Rogue HMO landlords hit with huge fines

The courts have handed out huge fines to shared house landlords who have broken the law in recent weeks.

New licensing rules netting more than 160,000 buy to let homes as houses in multiple occupation came into force from 1 October in England in a new crackdown on rogue landlords, poor housing conditions and overcrowding.

However, these cases were all heard in the run-up to the new HMO licensing regime, when the old, less strict rules applied.

In Burnley, Lancashire, landlord David Vallender must pay more than £56,000 in fines and costs for running shared houses without selective licenses.

He was fined £12,500 for failing to licence four HMOs, with £6,100 costs at Burnley Magistrates Court.

A five-year licence would have cost no more than £750 a property, the council told the court.

Cllr John Harbour, executive member for housing and leisure, said: “The landlord was given every opportunity to work with us but failed to provide the information we needed, despite repeated requests and meetings with officers.

“This was one of the biggest fines ever handed out by the courts in this country for failing to properly license properties.”

Another big fine was handed to letting agent SDV HQ Ltd by Thames Magistrates, East London.

The company was fined £46,620 with £7,000 costs for failing to licence an overcrowded HMO with poor heating and safety standards.

The agent let a three-bedroomed former council flat to six tenants, Tower Hamlets Council officers told the court.

Meanwhile, Islington Council, North London, has prosecuted two landlords for squeezing 35 tenants into a two-bedroomed council flat.

Arun Bajaj and Antonio Ferraivolo were found guilty of 35 offences of letting unlicensed HMOs with dangerous and sub-standard conditions at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court and are awaiting sentencing.

Find out more information about the new licencing rules.

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