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Hefty fine after unsafe overcrowding in unlicensed HMO loft

A buy to let investor that let at least eight people from six different families rent space in his three-storey property has been ordered to pay almost £3,000 in court. 

North West Leicestershire council has successfully prosecuted David Sansom of Coalville after he turned a home into a House in Multiple Occupancy without being licensed. 

This saw at least eight tenants crammed into the house, with some living in a dangerous roof space. 

Environmental officers from the council made the discovery after a tip off from a member of the public. After visiting the home they immediately issued an emergency prohibition to prevent the loft from being used as a habitable space. 

In total 14 issues were identified, with 10 offences used in a prosecution against the landlord. 

Offences included not having a HMO licence, electrics not being maintained in a safe condition, a lack of adequate fire precautions, obstructions to escape routes, the only exit from the loft being a collapsible ladder and no fire or smoke alarms in the loft. 

Sansom appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ court last month to plead guilty to seven of these offences. 

In mitigation his defence stated that he hadn’t realised so many people would move in to each of the rooms as he rented them out and that work was planned to improve living conditions in the home. 

Magistrates fined Sansom £145 for each offence, totalling £1,015, and ordered him to pay a £30 victim surcharge. He will also pay the council’s £1,911 legal costs. 

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