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£7,000 bill because buy to let investor failed to get HMO licence

A buy to let investor who failed to purchase a £542 licence for his HMO has been ordered to pay almost £7,000 following a court case brought by a council.

Potters Bar landlord Andrew Harvey was ordered to pay nearly £7,000 when he appeared at St Albans magistrates court; under the law, it is a criminal offence for anyone who controls or manages a house of three or more storeys which is occupied by five or more people in more than one household, to do so without a licence.

The court heard how Harvey, from Stevenage, failed to respond to emails and correspondence from the borough council on various occasions over the five years. 


When the property was checked by the council’s private sector housing officer in June, five veterinary students were found to be living there.

A spokeswoman for Hertsmere council says: “As a landlord, you are responsible for the welfare of your tenants and there are strict rules in place to ensure certain conditions and duties are met. This is for the protection of all.

“The vast majority of landlords are happy to work with us to ensure they are managing their properties and looking after their tenants according to the letter of law. However, we will not hesitate to take other landlords who deliberately fail in their duties to court, where they could receive unlimited fines.”

In his defence, Harvey claimed he had not received emails from the council.

However, in sentencing the magistrates said they believed Harvey was aware the property should have had a licence and that it was his duty to ensure that a licence was obtained.

He was fined £5,542 and ordered to pay £1,319.29 in costs, plus a £125 victim surcharge.  


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