Letting agent and landlord both fined after guilty pleas to unlicensed HMO

Both a letting agent and a landlord have been fined after prosecutions over an unlicensed HMO.

The three-storey property was owned by a married couple who rented out their family home while they worked as teachers in China.

They intended to use it again as a home on their return.

They used Beresford Adams, a Countrywide brand, who let it to two brothers, a friend and one more person.

This meant that the property became an HMO, as it was used by three or more people from two or more households.

The property had been inspected by a health and housing standards officer at Wrexham Council, after a complaint about repairs.

The property was found to be an HMO, which the council said meant that fire safety measures would have to be installed and other works carried out.

Beresford Adams pleased guilty at Wrexham Magistrates Court to a number of breaches, including inadequate fire safety measures.

The firm was fined £22,500 – £7,500 for each of three offences – plus £2,819 costs and a £107 victim surcharge.

Meanwhile in a hearing at Mold Magistrates Court, landlord Jane Sabio was fined £5,000 for being in control of the same unlicensed HMO.

She was also ordered to pay costs of £1,697 plus a £170 victim surcharge.

The Sabios had been left facing a bill of up to £21,000 to bring the property up to compliant HMO standards.

Her defence solicitor told the court that the couple could not afford this bill and had no option but to plead guilty.

District Judge Gwyn Jones said the house appeared to be in good order, but highlighted the problems of letting out a property to more than one family unit.

The Sabios are said to be now selling the property.

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5 Comments

  1. fpe

    It is disappointing that you state “The property was found to be an HMO, which meant that fire safety equipment would have to be installed and other works carried out” this is because regardless if it is an HMO or not the fire safety equipment would need to be installed. This is a mistake that many make it is not the HMO that requires the fire safety it is the law and the HMO is just enforcing that law not very well in a lot of areas. This sort of reporting just increases the belief that if you are not in an HMO area that the fire laws are not applicable and of course they are. Please get your facts correct. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order must be adhered to by all along with any other fire requirements that are in force now or will come into force in the future .

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    1. Ocheok07

      The Fire Safety Order 2005 does not apply to private homes.

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      1. Woodentop

        It does apply if it is an HMO as they are not private homes, they are treated as commercial rented premsies if there are two or more households of three or more people. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it clear that prohibition notices can be issued on HMO in accordance with Regulation 31 (6).

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  2. DASH94

    Sounds like the owners just handed it to an agent and trusted that they knew what they were doing.  Ignorance is no excuse, but I feel for them.

     

     

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  3. whatdoiknow58

    Yet another bad news story for CWD who even with their vast army of support staff/compliance and training etc. still don’t know what an HMO looks like? Assume they will be also paying their clients legal fees for failing to provide a duty of care.

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