19 Jan 2021

A landlord has been fined £10,000 by her local council for failing to licence a HMO.

Tracey Davies of Bath was found guilty in her absence when the case came before magistrates in the city.

The local authority – which says it was “acting on information received that the property was likely to be operating as an illegal HMO” – was inspected back in February of last year. 

The property concerned was a five storey building with 10 bedrooms with a shared kitchen, living/dining room and a shower room with WC. 

The council says “Officers found the property to be in a poor condition” and now the court has fined Davies £10,000; she was also ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £3,850 and a victim surcharge of £190.

A council spokesman says: “This prosecution sends a clear message to landlords of HMOs that they must comply with their legal responsibilities. We work hard to ensure that properties in Bath are safe and fit for purpose for the number of people living in them.”

Said Phil Turtle, Compliance Director with Landlord Licensing & Defence, “It is interesting that Bath took this case to court and that they have not prosecuted for the alleged ‘poor condition’ because they would have had to produce evidence to the criminal standards of proof which we have to issue they couldn’t do .  Most councils now use Civil Penalty Fines – where they get to keep all the money – and in those cases we would generally find they increase the level of fine to over £50,000 by issuing multiple fines – one against each regulation in the HMO Management Regulations and with very little in the way of adequate proof.”

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