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Sub-standard HMO costs landlord five figure sum after council action

A private landlord in Mansfield has been ordered to pay a £17,000 penalty after renting out sub-standard accommodation.

The unnamed landlord, investigated after a complaint of alleged overcrowding, also failed to obtain a licence for their six-bedroom property, which the council determined was being let as a house in multiple occupation.

Mansfield council has the power to prosecute or impose civil penalties against private landlords in breach of housing laws. 


In this instance the authority chose to pursue a civil penalty which will be used to help support its Private Sector Housing team continue to monitor and regulate private landlords.

The level of the penalties issued by the council are based on what magistrates could have imposed had the case gone to court. They are usually reduced by a third if they are uncontested.

This was the third such civil penalty issued by the council against private landlords in the past three years. The others resulted in penalties of £4,787 and £12,900.

The landlord penalised this month cannot be identified as an agreed condition of them accepting the penalty.

An inspection by officers confirmed the property was being let to six people. HMOs, by law, must have a licence issued by the local housing authority. 

In Mansfield an HMO licence will cost from £724, depending on the size of the property, and will last for five years.

Landlords of such properties have to abide by certain conditions to be granted a licence. Among these are ensuring the property is safe and in good order and that the licence holder is a fit and proper person.

A council spokeswoman says: “This case shows why we need to be vigilant about the standards of housing in the private rental sector - especially in these times where the need for housing is so high.

"A strong market for rented accommodation can lead to landlords cutting corners on standards and fulfilling their legal obligations. I hope this case sends a message out to other private landlords in this district that if we find them acting unlawfully, we will not hesitate to take action against them.

"At the end of the day, the cost of obtaining an HMO licence is a good deal less than any penalty they may have to pay for trying to circumvent the law." 

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  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    Cases of landlords like this of overcrowding need a good hiding, giving everybody else a bad name.

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    There were six people in a six bedroomed property. Is that overcrowding?


    Ellie, it's not and you and I know that. However it deprives the scumbag council of their rip-off licensing fees so they will move heaven and earth to get their pound of flesh whatever it takes

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    I had no idea that Councils alone had powers to impose fines of this level. I am also concerned at the apparent lack of judicial oversight.
    If there were just six people living in a 6 bed house I can’t see how that was seen as overcrowding.
    Operating without a licence is a fair cop of course.

  • Peter Lewis

    After coming out of rent smart Wales recently when i sold up. I can honestly say that after my initial three payments for registration fee, the exam fee, and the licence fee, I got absolutely naff all in return for my approx £500.00, outlay for the next five years.
    It just shows that the authorities are using it as an extra infusion of cash, because in those five years there were very few cases of enforcement or prosecution's of rogue Private Landlords in the whole of Wales. However there were many cases of social housing Landlords failing to supply safe homes, but no prosecutions. If the authorities wish to to charge private landlords good money, then they should give landlords something in return, it appears that all they are doing is using the fees to run an administration service that achieves nothing.


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