When a Newcastle landlord failed to get planning permission and a license for an HMO (house in multiple occupation) he rented out in the town, council officials took action.
The student house at 41 Eskdale Terrace has been served an enforcement notice by Newcastle City Council, requiring the landlord to cease all the lettings as a planning category designated C4, HMO.
The lawful use of the property which is designated a C3 Family Dwelling was not appropriate for an HMO and neither a planning application nor a HMO licence had been applied for.
Operating a dwelling unlawfully (without an HMO licence) is subject at a maximum £25,000 fine.
The students themselves, according to The JesmondLocal, were shocked to find out last month they had been living unlawfully after their landlord failed to comply with the regulations on HMOs, and in consequence he may have had the house in an unsafe condition.
As the tenants signed their tenancy agreements without any knowledge of the breach of the rules, the Council have relented and are allowing them to remain in the property until the end of the current tenancy agreement, which will end on 15th July 2017.
The landlord has been told to apply for a temporary HMO licence so that the regulatory authorities can ensure the property is up to standard. Following the end of the tenancy the property will revert back to a C3 designated Family Dwelling, pending prosecution if the landlord does not comply.
According to The JesmondLocal, Bridgfords of Jesmond, part of Countrywide PLC, acted as agents for the owner and will also be investigated by the local authority.
The landlord’s actions breached the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which automatically leads to an enforcement action as outlined in paragraph 207 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2012.
JesmondLocal said, although she was reluctant to talk, one of residents at the property told them:
“I don’t want to say anything bad about the landlord – he’s been lovely. It was the estate agents’ fault.”
HMOs, it seems, are a controversial issue for the long-term residential residents of Jesmond, who claim to be losing more and more family homes to students each year. In 2015 JesmondLocal say they uncovered figures that showed an estimated 25% of the population of Jesmond lived in registered HMOs.
The Jesmond Residents Association, successfully campaigned in November 2011 to require property owners in theb borough to apply for planning permission in order to change from a C3 Family Dwelling to a C4 HMO.
Students lose home though landlord’s error https://t.co/KwlDgDoMD0
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) October 17, 2016