Unlicensed HMO
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A couple who owned and managed an unlicensed HMO has been prosecuted and ordered to pay a total £4,991 in fines, court surcharges and costs.

Aligul Kala, aged 49, and Gulten Kala, aged 43, both of Gillingwood Road, York attended York Magistrates Court today (8 November) which issued each a fine of £1,200, a £120 surcharge each and ordered each to pay half the court costs which totalled £2,351.

The house at Blossom Street, York is owned by Gulten Kala and managed by her husband Aligul.

Council officers found it to be occupied by six people on 22 December 2016 when they visited the property following concerns about waste disposal from the address.

Officers met Mr Kala at the five-bedroom property on 1 February 2017.

They pointed out to him that as it was let to more than five persons over three storeys and had shared cooking and bathroom facilities, it should be licensed with the council as a house in multiple occupation, and showed him how to apply.

While there, they inspected the property and found that the standard of the accommodation was poor, with areas of concern around unsatisfactory fire safety measures, no carbon monoxide detection, kitchen units and the electric meter in a poor state of repair, loose handrails on staircases.

These hazards would have been identified and required to be repaired through the HMO licensing process and removed within a specified timeframe.

Mr Kala failed to make an application and continued to let the property – including one room rented at £340 per month – as an unlicensed HMO until mid March 2017, despite having been advised otherwise.

Tom Brittain, assistant director of housing and community safety at City of York Council, said:

Homes which are occupied by a number of unrelated people who share facilities, need to be licensed to ensure landlords uphold their responsibilities to their tenants. In this case, fire safety measures and maintenance standards were lacking, thereby putting the tenants at risk.

Anyone in any doubt about what constitutes an HMO and what they should do if they own, manage or let one should visit www.york.gov.uk/info/20097/private_landlords_and_tenants/1083/hmo_licensing

Source: Minster FM

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