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Landlord Company Fined For State Of Rental Property

A landlord company based in Ripley has been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs as a result of the poor state of a rental property in Kirkby that is owned by the company.

In a visit to the Kirkby rental property, deemed an HMO (house of multiple occupation) by Mansfield District Council officers on April 1st, they found ‘inadequate’ fire doors that were blocked, an ‘unfinished’ wall in a ground floor bedroom, an electricity meter in a bedroom, and damaged windows that wouldn’t close properly.

In a hearing at Mansfield Magistrates Court on October 23rd, John Cotton admitted the three breaches of regulations, on behalf of his landlord company, JP Cotton, which is registered to Devonshire Avenue, Ripley.

Helen Lees, speaking on behalf of the landlord company, said it was ‘a difficult situation with difficult tenants and it was very difficult to turn a profit’.

Confirming that it was not a large corporate landlord company, she said: ‘This is a company which accepts its standards have slipped. It has operated with one property for a long time. Mr Cotton, or the landlord company, would like to sell it.’

The court also heard that the property is now being rented to a single family and is no longer a house of multiple occupation (HMO), and therefore no longer subject to the same strict regulations.

However, district judge at Mansfield Magistrates Court, Jonathan Taaffe said: ‘This landlord company has a responsibility under its statutory obligations.

‘It’s clear, notwithstanding the difficulties of the types of tenants who were in this property, these obligations weren’t met.’

The landlord company, JP Cotton Ltd, was fined £6,000 for the three breaches of regulations, and t was also ordered to pay £2,235 in costs and a £171 government surcharge, which must be paid by April 2020.

Source: Residential Landlord

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Bath Landlords Fined For Operating HMO Without Licence

Two Bath private landlords have been told that they must pay more than £16,000 due to their failure to obtain the correct House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing.

Elizabeth Vowles, 48, and Hayley Book, 55, both from Weston pleaded guilty at Bath Magistrates’ Court to their licensing failure, deemed an offence under the Housing Act 2004.

The court was told that the two landlords had been caught operating a pair of HMOs in Bath’s designated Additional Licensing Area without the adequate licensing. Their flouting of the regulation was discovered in January 2017, despite the fact that it had been a legal requirement in certain locations in Bath since 2014. The licensing scheme was introduced to enable officers to know the location of HMOs and place conditions on the landlord to enforce minimum standards of safety, as well as making sure that the property’s management is maintained.

The pair of private landlords were also managing a third HMO in the Additional Licensing Area, so both landlords would have been well aware of the additional licences that were required for houses of multiple occupation licensing, the court was told.

Vowles and Book were each fined £4,000 for each property. They were also ordered pay prosecution costs of £550, as well as a victim surcharge of £170. In the Bath designated licensing area, operating a property without a licence is an offence punishable by a fine up to £20,000

Councillor Paul Myers commented on the case: ‘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.’

Source: Residential Landlord

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Fresh eviction fear for residents after council refuses Willenhall HMO plans

The saga over a former warehouse which has been used for housing without permission for more than two years has taken another twist after planning chiefs refused plans to make it legitimate.

Tenants have been living in the premises at 51 to 53 Wolverhampton Street, Willenhall, which is now a house of multiple occupation, since at least 2015.

Last year Walsall Council took enforcement action against the owner Jim Haliburton effectively evicting the residents, but the move was put on hold after he formally submitted an application to ‘change the use’ of the building retrospectively.

Now the authority’s planning committee has refused the proposal and is considering enforcement action once again, meaning residents face fresh eviction fears.

However it may not be the end of the lengthy dispute if Mr Haliburton contests the latest decision.

A council spokeswoman said: “This application was refused for lack of shared parking, limited bin storage and poor outlook for residents all impacting detrimentally on amenity.

“The planning file will now be passed to the Planning Enforcement team who will commence work on taking action to cease the use of the building as a HMO.

“This action though will need to be placed on hold if the applicants appeal to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol in an effort to overturn the decision to refuse planning permission. If the appeal is dismissed, officers will press ahead with enforcement action.”

Earlier this month Mr Haliburton appealed the council’s decision to turn down planning permission for another of his properties in Butts Road, Walsall, in a very similar dispute.

Source: Express & Star