Landlord Fined for Breaking HMO Rules

Julie Stoddern of Roskear Village, Camborne, has been fined and ordered to pay costs to Cornwall Council at Truro Magistrates’ Court for multiply safety hazards in her unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO)

She had already been issued with a prohibition order which forbid her from using an attic room for any other purpose than storage because of a dangerous staircase. The council’s private sector housing team discovered she had breached the order on 11 July 2012.

They had also not received an application for a property licence. Landlords of HMOs must register the properties with the local authority.

The council’s private sector housing team found the property was overcrowded, had serious fire safety hazards, and the staircase leading to the attic room was steep, lacked handrails and had no guarding at the top to stop someone falling.

Ms Stoddern pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed HMO and not complying with a prohibition order.

She said in mitigation she did not know she had to license the property and the attic room was not being used as a bedroom.

Mark Kaczmarek, cabinet member for housing and planning at Cornwall Council said: “This case highlights that there are still some landlords who are operating licensable HMOs without a licence despite the requirements being in place for over six years.  The council will make every effort to advise and educate landlords but those who plead ignorance to their obligations can rest assured that to protect the health safety and welfare of tenants, the council will make every effort to bring them to book.”

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