A landlord who failed to apply for an HMO licence despite being interviewed on the subject under caution has now been fined £7,000.

Frank Scanlon appeared before Worthing magistrates accused of breaching the Housing Act 2004 (Section 72 (1)) after failing to licence his property correctly to ensure the safety of its occupants.

When Scanlon’s property was inspected by Worthing council officers, they found it was housing seven individuals who shared facilities but didn’t form a single household – since it was also three storeys high, the property was therefore classed as an HMO.

Scanlon was interviewed under caution and made aware of the mandatory licensing scheme but did not go on to apply for the correct licence.

“This type of accommodation can provide much needed living space but does present unacceptable risks to occupants if poorly run – and the mandatory licence provides a level of reassurance that the property is safe and secure for all inside it” claims Paul Cooper, a spokesman for Adur and Worthing councils.

From the details given, the low amount of the fine (this can be up to £20,000) and the fact that no breaches of HMO regulations have been mentioned in the case this landlord was fined purely for not applying for an HMO licence. How just having a licence can give “reassurance that the property is safe and secure for all inside ” it would be interesting to know, surely it is meeting the HMO safety and management regulations that makes tenants safe and this council could have served enforcement notices if the landlord has failed in his legal obligations but of course that would not have put licence fees into their coffers.

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