Landlords fined:

Two Bath landlords have received heavy fines totalling £16,000 for failing to hold HMO licences.

Although the landlords held the correct licenses for the Additional Licensing Area in which the properties reside, these were not the appropriate licences for an HMO property, and their houses did not meet the HMO safety requirements, hence the heavy fines.

Elizabeth Vowles, 48, and Hayley Book, 55, from Weston-super-Mare appeared at Bath Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, September 28.

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One property was a three-storey HMO shared by four tenants. This property failed to meet the HMO Licensing Standards due to locks on doors, lack of fire alarms and a fire door in disrepair. The other property was a two-storey HMO shared by three tenants and failed to meet the HMO Licensing Standards due to locks on doors and poor maintenance of the garden.

The pair pleaded guilty to the offence under the Housing Act 2004 when the court heard that Vowles  and Book were caught operating two HMOs in the Additional Licensing Area without a licence in January 2017.

Additional licensing was introduced in certain areas in Bath by Bath and North East Somerset Council in 2014 to tackle issues of poor management in small HMOs, those with up to three tenants in them, that do not need a full HMO license.

The landlords had another HMO in the Additional Licensing Area, so should have been aware of the correct licences needed.

The court sentenced Vowles and Book both to a £8,000 fine (£4,000 for each property) and ordered them each to pay prosecution costs of £550 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Councillor Paul Myers (Con, Midsomer Norton Redfield), cabinet member for economic & community regeneration, said:

“Our Housing Services will try to work in partnership with landlords to improve housing standards wherever possible.

“Additional licensing helps to ensure that occupants of HMOs are able to live in safe and well managed properties. Where landlords fail to licence their properties such as the case here, they are undermining the objectives of the additional licensing scheme.”

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