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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Not-so-merry Christmas as HMO owner must pay thousands

A buy to let investor has been fined more than £5,000 and ordered to pay a further £4,000 after HMO offences. 

John Avery owns an HMO in Swindon; a year ago council environmental health officers inspected the property and found the occupants living in extremely poor conditions that posed serious health risks.

Fire safety measures had been ignored, escape routes were obstructed, a basement was wrongly being used as a bedroom and there were holes in the ceiling.

Avery was made aware of the breaches of his HMO licence but failed to attend a number of interviews with council officers. 

When he finally did attend, in June, he acknowledged that management of the property had been poor, yet he failed to supply any reasonable excuse for the conditions.

A council spokeswoman says: “This case shows our commitment to ensuring that no tenant has to live at the mercy of a landlord who does not care about their living conditions.

“In most cases, we are able to resolve problems such as this before legal action is required. However, in this case, Mr Avery proved extremely uncooperative. In the end, we had to take him to court to ensure his tenants were protected and kept safe.”

Avery attended Swindon Magistrates’ Court earlier this week and pleaded guilty to nine offences.

He was ordered to pay £600 for each breach, a £170 victim surcharge and £4,158 in legal costs for the investigation carried out by the council. His HMO licence will also be reviewed by the council.

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