20 Apr 23
A landlord will have to pay £22,861 after he failed to apply for a licence to operate an HMO.
Mohammad Safdar, of Reading, appealed against a penalty notice issued by the local council’s private sector housing team in July 2022, after he committed an offence under the Housing Act 2004 of having an unlicensed HMO at his property in the town.
The council’s penalty notice was issued as an alternative to prosecution.
Safdar appealed against the penalty notice, stating the property had been unlawfully and unknowingly sublet by his tenants.
Reading council defended the appeal, including the level of financial penalty levied and disputed Safdar had not let the rooms to all tenants.
Reading council’s case included calling the former tenants of the property, who all confirmed they had rented their rooms from Safdar and paid him the rent directly.
Safdar had previously been issued a S249A Notice for a different address, which he also claimed was unlawfully sublet, but for which he had paid a penalty notice.
At the appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (Residential Property) Safdar was unsuccessful in his appeal, so must pay the total financial penalty of £22,861.
The council is now reminding all landlords that properties in Reading occupied by more than one household where there are five or more occupants, require a licence.
Typically, this includes shared houses and bedsits. Since 2018 the requirement also includes one and two storey properties operated as HMO’s.
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