Date Published: 

Wed, 11/10/2017

Bath & North East Somerset Council has prosecuted two Landlords for failing to make a valid application for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence.  Mrs Elizabeth Vowles (aged 48) and Mrs Hayley Book (aged 55), of Weston, Bath appeared at Bath Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 28th September, 2017 and pleaded guilty to the Housing Act 2004 offence.

The court heard that Mrs Vowles and Mrs Book were caught operating two HMOs in the Additional Licensing Area, without a licence in January 2017.  The Landlords had another HMO in the Additional Licensing Area and should therefore have been aware of the obligations upon them. As a result of the current breaches, and in light of their previous history, the Council took the decision to prosecute.

One of the properties was a 3-storey HMO shared by 4 occupants. This property failed to meet the HMO Licensing Standards due to locks on doors, lack of fire alarms and a fire door in disrepair. The other property was a 2-storey HMO shared by 3 occupants. This property failed to meet the HMO Licensing Standards due to locks on doors, and poor maintenance of the garden.

The court sentenced Mrs Elizabeth Vowles to an £8,000 fine (£4,000 for each property) and she was ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £550 and the victim surcharge of £170.

The court sentenced Mrs Hayley Book to an £8,000 fine (£4,000 for each property) and she was ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £550 and the victim surcharge of £170.

Councillor Paul Myers (Conservative, Midsomer Norton Redfield)  Cabinet Member for Economic & Community Regeneration, said: “Our Housing Services will try to work in partnership with landlords to improve housing standards wherever possible. Additional licensing helps to ensure that occupants of HMOs are able to live in safe and well managed properties. Where landlords fail to licence their properties such as the case here, they are undermining the objectives of the additional licensing scheme.”

Additional licensing was brought in by the Council in 2014 to address issues of poor management in small HMOs with three or more persons in certain areas of Bath.  If residents are aware of any properties that are operating without a HMO licence then they can contact Housing Services on 01225 396269 or via email to hmo_licensing@bathnes.gov.uk For more information on the legal requirements for Houses in Multiple Occupation residents can visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/hmos

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