Landlords being prosecuted on the rise

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a new definition of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) from 6th April 2006 in England.

Basically, this means that a property may be a HMO, depending on:

  • the number of tenants/households;
  • how many share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet;
  • whether a house has been converted entirely into bedsits (or other non-self-contained accommodation);

as well as some other factors.

Unfortunately, although this law has been in place for over 7 years many landlords still seem be unaware of it or choose to ignore it with the result that prosecutions are increasingly common.

A very recent example of this is that in August 2013 a landlord who rented out a property for five years without a proper licence was ordered to pay over £6,000 by magistrates.

Harjeet Johal pleaded guilty to failing to obtain a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence which he rented out to tenants between 2008 and 2013. He was fined £5,000 for failing to obtain the licence, prosecution costs of £1,277.30 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Landlords who think their property may be a HMO should seek advice to avoid a visit to the magistrates court.