A big council in the South East of England has warned landlords who don'�t licence their HMO properties that they face stiff fines for non-compliance.
This follows a fine of �22,861 for repeat rogue landlord Mohammad Safdar after he committed an offence under the Housing Act 2004 of having an unlicensed HMO at his property in Hexham Road in Reading.
The town'�s borough council chose to fine Safdar in July 2022 rather than bring a prosecution, but the landlord appealed the penalty notice.
He said the property had been unlawfully and unknowingly sublet by his tenants, but the council defended the appeal, including the level of financial penalty levied and disputed Mr Safdar had not let the rooms to all tenants.
During an investigation, council officers found that former tenants of the property all confirmed they had rented their rooms from Mr Safdar and paid him the rent directly.
Mr Safdar also had form '� he had previously been issued a penalty notice for a different address, which he also claimed was unlawfully sublet, but for which he had paid.
After a hearing at a First Tier Tribunal, Safdar was unsuccessful in his appeal and must not pay the full financial penalty.
A council spokesperson says: '[We are] now reminding all landlords that properties in Reading occupied by more than one household where there are five or more occupants, require a licence from the Council.
'Typically, this includes shared houses and bedsits. Since 2018 the requirement also includes one and two storey properties operated as HMOs.'�
Read more: Complete guide to letting an HMO property.