A landlord has been fined more than £3,500 after a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Cambridge was found to have been unlicensed.
After receiving a complaint from a tenant of the property in Milton Road, Cambridge City Council investigated and found it had not been licensed since October 2021, meaning it was potentially unsafe for the tenants living there.
On 21 March the landlord was issued with a Financial Penalty Notice for the offence totalling £3528.54.
The council utilised enforcement powers, under the amended Housing Act 2004, meaning it can issue a civil penalty as an alternative to prosecution, in relation to certain Housing Act offences.
In addition to serving the Financial Penalty Notice the council team ensured other deficiencies within the property were remedied. The necessary mandatory HMO licence has now been granted, with an additional condition requiring the owner to undertake recognised landlord training within six months, and the fine has been paid in full.
Where a landlord or property manager receives a civil penalty it can be taken into account when considering whether they are ‘fit and proper’ to be the licence holder for an HMO.
In cases where a landlord or property manager receives two or more civil penalties over a 12-month period the council may include their details in the national database of rogue landlords and property agents.
Income received from civil penalties can be retained by the council to carry out functions in relation to enforcement activities covering the private rented sector.
Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “The majority of landlords within the city provide a good standard of accommodation. However Cambridge City Council is committed to tackling the minority of landlords who put their tenants’ health and safety at risk by failing to comply with housing regulations, including getting HMOs within the city licensed with the council where necessary.
“The legal power to issue civil penalties is an important tool and is used alongside powers to take formal legal action when necessary. We hope that the enforcement action taken by our Environmental Health team will set an example to other landlords who fail to license their properties, and provide unsafe accommodation in Cambridge.”
If residents wish to discuss or report concerns relating to an HMO, including those relating to rented properties that may be operating without an HMO licence, they can contact Cambridge City Council’s Residential Team on 01223 457000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org