DCSIMG

Rugby estate agent fined for breaching housing rules

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An estate agent who rented out a house in Rugby without a ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO) licence has been fined £6,650.

Brian Williams, a sales director at an estate agents, was renting out the five-bedroomed house in Cambridge Street to nine tenants when council housing enforcement officers inspected the property in March.

Officers found a crumbling ceiling in the basement and doors and windows in need of repair.

Mr Williams had also failed to obtain an HMO licence for the property, despite officers first informing him of the regulations for HMOs following an inspection in December 2010.

Following a further inspection in June 2013, officers again informed Mr Williams he needed an HMO licence for the property - but no action was taken after he said some of the tenants were due to move out.

During a hearing at Nuneaton Magistrates Court on Monday, magistrates heard Mr Williams was receiving more than £2,000 a month in rent from the property when officers carried out the inspection.

The court was told Mr Williams rents out seven properties in Rugby - though the house in Cambridge Street was currently empty while repair work was carried out.

The 38-year-old, of Bronze Road, Cawston, pleaded guilty to renting out a house in multiple occupation without a licence and two breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006.

His defence told magistrates Mr Williams was aware of the regulations and had licences for two of the properties he rented out.

But he said Mr Williams’ brother persuaded him to allow three extra tenants to move into a room for a month - bringing the total number of tenants to nine.

However, an HMO requires a licence when five or more tenants, comprising two or more households, live in a property with three storeys or more - meaning Mr Williams’ property required a licence before the extra tenants moved in.

He was fined a total of £6,650 - £3,000 for each of the breaches and £650 for failing to have an HMO licence.

Mr Williams was also ordered to pay £863 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Leigh Hunt, the borough councillor responsible for sustainable inclusive communities, said: “The council has no hesitation in enforcing HMO regulations to protect the health and safety of tenants.

“Unscrupulous landlords who flout the law tarnish the reputation of the many responsible private landlords in Rugby.

“While we’re keen to work with landlords to make sure properties meet the required standards, landlords also need to know we’ll pursue reports of substandard accommodation and prosecute when necessary.”

Landlords who need help and advice on renting out properties and HMOs should contact the council’s housing enforcement team by phone on (01788) 533882 or by email: hen@rugby.gov.uk

Tenants with concerns about a rented property can contact the team anonymously by filling in the online form at www.rugby.gov.uk/HMO.

 
 
 

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