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Landlord ordered to pay £10k for unlicensed properties

Mansfield District Council is warning landlords to ensure they have a licence for houses in multiple occupation, following the prosecution of a private landlord who has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 for failing to licence five properties within the Mansfield District.

On 16 May Mansfield Magistrates' Court convicted Midway Network Housing Support (MNHS) of five offences of breaching section 72 (1) of the Housing Act 2004. The company was fined £3,500 plus costs of £6,535.97 for Mansfield District Council's investigation and legal costs, which must be paid within 28 days.

The court heard that between 9 February 2011 and 26 July 2011 MNHS was responsible for five properties within the District which did not have House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences.

In sentencing MNHS, District Judge Baker said that the purpose of the legislation is to ensure that people living in houses in multiple occupancy are living safely and that by failing to licence the properties there was potential for serious harm.

With respect to three of the properties, District Judge Baker criticised MNHS for the length of time it had taken to deal with the HMO licences. She said that with respect to the other two properties it was obvious to MNHS that they required licensing and that for three years they did nothing.

A property requires a HMO licence if it has three or more storeys and the owner lets it to at least five tenants who form more than one household and who share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. Licences last five years and the Council will carry out an inspection of the property to assess fire safety and ensure the property in is adequate condition.

Cllr Derek Evans, Portfolio Holder for Housing Strategy and Regeneration at Mansfield District Council, said: "Any landlord who manages a property with three or more storeys and houses multiple tenants must contact the Council to apply for a HMO licence. If you are unsure, please get in touch and we will be able to advise you on whether your property requires this licence. It is an offence not to apply for a licence if your property must have one.

"Despite many efforts by the Council to work with Midway Network Housing Support to strongly advise them to apply for the HMO licence, they failed to do so and we had to take the necessary legal action. This has resulted in MNHS paying a financial penalty."

For more information about HMO licence and to apply, please call Mansfield District Council's Housing department on 01623 463 212.

Published 25 May 2012

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