A letting agency has been handed fines totalling £7,000 and costs of £1,140 after a council took it to court over an unlicensed house in multiple occupation.
The Letting Centre Oxford Ltd., based in the Oxford suburb of Headington, was prosecuted after Oxford city council environmental health officers found that it was managing the rental of an HMO that was unlicensed and failing to comply with fire safety requirements.
Officers from the council visited the property last November and an inspection confirmed suspicions that it was an unlicensed and unsafe HMO. The property had a missing fire door and locks on doors that could stop occupants escaping if there was a fire.
Darren Hazell, director of The Letting Centre (Oxford) Ltd., has pleaded guilty to being in control of an unlicensed HMO and has received a fine of £5,000 for failing to obtain a licence. He has also pleaded guilty to one breach of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and has received a fine of £2,000.
The court also ordered the agency to pay the council’s full costs of £1,140 for bringing the case to court.
“The city council requires all houses in multiple occupation to be licensed in order to raise standards in properties as well as their management. We will take action against landlords who fail to comply with legal requirements to license and maintain HMOs to acceptable standards” a spokesman for the council says.