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Councils clamping down on negligent HMO landlords

14 July 2015

Councils across the UK appear to have adopted a no-nonsense approach to unsafe HMO properties following a number of successful prosecutions against negligent landlords.

Individual fines by the courts have reached the tens of thousands of pounds, which is a big wake-up call to those who are not abiding by the current regulations.

One of the more significant fines was for a landlord in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, who was ordered to pay over £17,000 after pleading guilty to 23 offenses in relation to his HMO. The charges included failing to maintain the property in a safe and satisfactory condition, as well as not complying with fire safety regulations.

There were also successful prosecutions in Barnet (£10,000), Bristol (£7,500), Cambridge (£7,000) and Lincoln (£5,700) as well as Dartford, Fylde, Hillingdon and Sutton Coldfield.

London Borough of Barnet have responded by implementing an amnesty. As a result, HMO landlords in Barnet who are currently operating without a licence have until 31st July 2015 to apply without fear of prosecution.

Additionally, Camden Council are currently planning to introduce new licensing conditions for landlords of shared accommodation. From December 2015 a new five-year licence will only be granted if minimum standards are met. Camden Council hope that living conditions for tenants within the area will improve following the changes.

Lincoln Council are also considering introducing legislation in an attempt to control the number of new HMOs. Their proposals would require landlords and property owners to gain planning permission before converting a house to an HMO.