A company which operated an unlicensed HMO and its then-director have lost their appeal against the imposition of financial penalties.
Gatwick and Crawley Rooms Limited Ltd and its director at the time, Carolyne Hunt, were issued with notices imposing financial penalties of £10,000 each by Crawley council in December 2020 for an offence of managing and operating a HMO without a licence contrary to section 72 of the Housing Act 2004.
Councils are able to impose financial penalties as an alternative to prosecuting for certain criminal offences.
The decision to impose financial penalties was made following an investigation by the council into a potential HMO in a four-bedroom home.
The investigation found that the HMO was unlicensed, lacked a number of fire protection measures, and had only one small kitchen and inadequate bathroom facilities for the potential number of occupants.
The company and Hunt appealed the council’s decision to the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property).
The Tribunal decided to amend the penalties to £15,000 for Hunt and £5,000 for Gatwick and Crawley Rooms Limited Ltd.
An application for permission to appeal was refused.
The decision notice says: “The Tribunal is entirely satisfied that [Crawley Borough Council’s] procedures were carried out properly and fairly and in the face of a blatant and continuous breach of the regulations considers that [Crawley Borough Council’s] decision to impose only the minimum financial penalty was generous.”