Please Note: This Article is 7 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

A glaring loophole in house in multiple occupation licensing has been exposed by students who found their HMO landlord was a registered sex offender.
Housing laws demand that an HMO licence holder must be a ‘fit and proper’ person.
Part of the definition includes that the HMO landlord must not have any convictions for sex offences.
However, landlord Gulam Bobat listed his son as the HMO licence holder while allegedly managing the student HMO.
One tenant searched Bobat online and discovered he was jailed for 12 months in 2010 for inciting girls as young as 13 to take part in sexual acts in return for cash, alcohol and drugs.
Bobat was convicted of six similar offences at the same hearing.
He was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
One tenant, Sally Cooling told the Leeds Student web site that the home was “not really liveable”.
She said problems included broken fire doors, mould and a faulty fire alarm system.
Ms Cooling left the property and was homeless for a month as she felt she could not remain in the property, especially after finding out her HMO landlord had convictions for sexually molesting children.
Leeds City Council agreed Bobat was refused an HMO licence due to his convictions.
Alex Pearson, from the council’s HMO licensing team said: “We’ll call around to his houses again shortly and make sure he isn’t too involved.”
Meanwhile, the five students have moved out.
The HMO was sourced via Unipol, even though organisation had not accredited Bobat.
A spokesman said it was not feasible to carry out a criminal record check on every landlord.
A tip for tenants checking out their prospective landlords is councils post a list of HMO addresses and licence holders online.
Imran Bobat is currently listed as the licence holder at six HMOs in Leeds.
The loophole allows convicted landlords or those who otherwise would not qualify as a ‘fit and proper’ person to sidestep a law designed to safeguard vulnerable people renting homes.
All they have to do is to appoint a letting agent, friend or relative as their HMO manager and can continue to run the properties.
In such cases, perhaps councils should consider a monitoring program to ensure the named licence holder is managing properties and dealing with tenants and not just acting as a ‘ghost’ licensee.

Please Note: This Article is 7 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.
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1 COMMENT

  1. Not convinced that this is a \”loophole\”.

    It is more likely to be the applicant deliberately lying on the application form, and/or Leeds Council not doing appropriate checks if Gulam Bonat was named.

    Their process requires \”related parties\” to be declared. If Bobat Jnr didn\’t declare it, then that is itself criminal.

    On other hand Leeds Council is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    They were (and still seem to be) one of a small number who I am aware of who publish their entire HMO register as a PDF file, thereby providing criminals with a downloadable shopping list of properties to check which are likely to be left empty in student holidays.

    Competent Councils at least use a limited database search, so that thieves cannot download thousands of targets into a spreadsheet,

    \’Related people\’ have to be declared and they should

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