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Failure to comply with Emergency Prohibition Order triggers fine

A landlord who failed to comply with an Emergency Prohibition Order to make safe an HMO has been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,500 after appearing in court.

Janna Fuller of Farnborough, admitted failing to comply with an EPO under Section 32(1) Housing Act 2004 when she appeared before Aldershot Magistrates’ Court. 

In addition to the fine and costs she was also ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge, bringing the total to £4,600. 

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The court heard that the EPO was served following a visit to the three-storey house in multiple occupation in Ettrick Court by a private sector housing officer from Rushmoor council in July 2021.  

The property, which was occupied by nine people, was in an extremely poor condition with damaged fire doors, furniture in the staircase areas and no working fire alarm. There was no gas safety certificate, the electrical supply was not certified and there were trailing cables across the ground floor hallway.  

An assessment was carried out and that determined there were two category one hazards and five category two hazards, and these presented an imminent risk of serious harm to the occupants. So the EPO was served, meaning that all tenants needed to leave the property until it was made safe.  

The council offered help to all residents to find secure temporary accommodation, but despite the order Fuller allowed all but one tenant to continue living in the property which was a breach of the order.

Fuller appealed against the EPO to a first-tier property tribunal, but following a hearing the council’s order was upheld. The EPO was complied with in September 2021 and was lifted on the same day. 

The property still operates as an HMO and is regularly monitored by private sector housing officers. 

A Rushmoor council spokesman says: “We will not hesitate to act against landlords who put tenants lives at risk by ignoring fundamental safety issues and failing to make sure they live in safe housing. Hopefully, this has proved to be an expensive lesson in court for Mrs Fuller, on top of the money she has spent making this HMO safe.”  

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