A landlord in Winchester has been ordered to pay nearly £30,000 in rent after a tribunal backed his tenants in a dispute over an HMO licence.
The Hampshire Chronicle reports that Gurjiven Singh Chhokran had let a seven bedroom property to students without the appropriate licence between October 1 2018 and December 2 2019.
The tribunal findings, reproduced in part by the paper, state: "The respondent relied on two pieces of evidence to substantiate his belief that a valid application was made for a licence in September/October 2018. The first is that the respondent said he contacted the city council about the progress of his application in January 2019.
"The respondent’s assertion is undermined by his failure to give the City Council the number of the mobile that he said he used to phone the city council which would have enabled the council to have checked whether such a phone call had been made.
"The implausibility of the Respondent’s assertion is compounded by the fact that he apparently used a Pay to Go mobile rather than his regular phone, the number of which appeared on the tenancy agreement and the other documentation."
Winchester council has denied the Chhokran's claims saying: “We have received no evidence to substantiate this despite giving Mr Chhokran multiple opportunities to provide evidence. The council will actively seek to hold landlords who fail in their statutory duty to licence their properties to account.”
Chhokran must pay each of seven students £2,571.43, totalling £18,000. He must also pay each of a second set of applicants £1,428.57, totalling £10,000. Both sets will also be paid £200 to cover the hearing costs
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