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Landlord fined for letting unlicensed property

A buy-to-let landlord had been prosecuted for letting rooms to three disabled people in an unlicensed property in the Rose Hill area of Oxford.

The house was being run as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) with rooms let separately. But not only did the property not have the correct HMO licence, but Oxford City Council environmental health officers also discovered that the house in Nowell Road, Rose Hill, had no fire alarms or kitchen fire door as is required for a HMO, among other defects.

Oxford City Council decided to take action against the landlord after deeming the property to be a high-risk unlicensed HMO, and that led to an application to a First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property) in order to claim back £5,798 in housing benefit that the landlord had received while managing the HMO on behalf of the three disabled tenants.

Eventually the landlord, William Stephen Rielly, of Rochfords Gardens, Slough, was prosecuted by the council in a hearing at Oxford Magistrates Court, after pleading guilty to managing an unlicensed HMO and failing in his duty to comply with two fire safety measures.

The court fined Rielly £1,500 and also ordered him to pay the council costs of £1,000.

In addition, he had to repay the housing benefit that he received, which meant that the landlord was forced by the court to pay a total of £8,298.

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