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Evesham landlord fined £14,500 for operating HMO without a licence

An Evesham landlord has been ordered to pay £14,500 after he was found to be illegally renting his property out to 11 EU migrant workers.

Four civil penalty notices were issued to the landlord by Wychavon District Council for operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence and a number of management regulation breaches.

It is the first time Wychavon has used this method of enforcement since civil penalties were introduced last year and it forms part of a crackdown on landlords operating HMOs without a licence.

The move followed a raid on a three-storey property, located in Waterside, by Wychavon’s Private Sector Housing Team and Police on 20 March 2019.

They found a family sharing a single room, unrelated adults sharing rooms and overall the house was being used by eight adults and three children.

A number of hazards were also discovered within the property, including poor internal layout, poorly working fire alarms, no fire doors or compartmentation and the kitchen lacked a working oven. Wychavon is now forcing the landlord to fix these issues which pose serious risks to people living there.

The total rent paid for the property was £810 per week in cash which amounted to around £42,000 each year received by the landlord.

A HMO is a property rented out by at least three people who are not from one ‘household’ (for example, a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. 

Landlords must have a licence to rent out a large HMO in England or Wales with five or more people.

The private sector housing team at Wychavon has been working together with the police and the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) to identify sites in the area and undertake inspections of the properties. This is to ensure the condition of properties is not affecting the health, safety or welfare of the occupants and that they are not victims of modern slavery.

Cllr Christopher Day, Executive Board Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing on Wychavon District Council, said: “Landlords like this are taking advantage of vulnerable people who have a lack of knowledge of the legislation surrounding renting in the UK. We hope this serves as a clear warning that we are cracking down on illegal HMOs in the area and there will be severe consequences for not abiding by the law.”

Visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/housing-in-multiple-occupation for more information on HMOs.