Bristol-based lettings management company Iletpro Ltd has been ordered to pay a total of £2,700.06 in fines and costs for failing to obtain HMO licences for two properties.
South Gloucestershire council was first alerted to the two properties in Stoke Gifford when council tax searches indicated that they were each occupied by five people as an HMO, although no HMO licences had been applied for.
An investigation confirmed that the properties were indeed being occupied as HMOs, and that Iletpro Ltd, the managing agents, operated the properties without mandatory HMO licences between September 2020 and June 2021.
Representatives for Iletpro failed to turn up to Bristol Magistrates Court at the hearing to enter a plea and the lettings management company was found guilty in its absence.
A South Gloucestershire council spokesperson says: “This is the third time we have taken enforcement action against unlicensed HMOs in as many months, and our message remains clear – licence your HMO before we find them.
“This is an important prosecution as Iletpro were appointed by the landlord in good faith, believing what the lettings management company had advertised.
“We would urge any landlords using Iletpro to make sure they are satisfied that they are managing their properties in accordance with all legal requirements. If you have any concerns, please contact the council’s Private Sector Housing team who can offer help and advice.
“Despite Iletpro’s example, we would always encourage landlords to use professional management companies where they feel they need help and support with letting and managing their rental property. Residential management companies should be aware of all the legal requirements relating to the safe rental of properties, and this includes ensuring that they are appropriately licensed.”
There are just over 520 licensed HMOs in South Gloucestershire.