A rogue Somerset landlord has been fined £5,500 following a successful prosecution by Mendip District Council.
The council’s private sector housing team have brought a civil action against the landlord – whose name has not been released to the press – after he was found guilty of operating a multi-occupancy house (HMO) without permit.
The property in question – whose location has not been disclosed – was found during an official investigation to “lack adequate fire detection”, which puts residents at undue risk.
Councilor Richard Pinnock said: ‘While we always prefer to work with owners and help them achieve the required standards and meet their legal obligations, we will not hesitate to take strict enforcement action and apply penalties. where they are needed.
“We are pleased with this result and hope it sends a strong message to deter other owners from neglecting their duties.
“We have a responsibility to protect tenants and keep homes safe, and our legal obligations allow us to take strong action when landlords fail to follow the law.”
The board said it hoped the lawsuits would deter other homeowners, adding that advice and support was available for other HMO operators.
An HMO is housing that has been subdivided to allow multiple people or families to rent rooms while sharing common facilities, such as kitchen, bathroom, and garden.
All HMOs must meet government standards under the Housing Act 2004, with those containing more than five households requiring a license from the local council to operate.
The council’s investigation found the property had been without proper permits for 22 months, during which time up to six people had been living there.
After extensive inquiries, the council have fined the landlord £5,500 – with a warning he could be banned from letting properties if further breaches come to light in the future.