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Tenant's complaint leads to £10,000 fine for HMO landlord

stoke on trent hmo fine landlord

A criminal landlord has been hit with an £11,800 fine for operating a dirty, unlicensed HMO - one of a growing number of large, sometimes overcrowded and dangerous, bedsits around the country, it has been claimed.

After receiving a complaint from a tenant, Stoke-on-Trent Council’s investigation found that the Liverpool Road (pictured) property was in a poor condition.

Bathrooms failed to meet minimum standards and there was evidence of a fly infestation in the house, as well as a build-up of waste and sludge in the backyard.

Lee Challinor admitted operating without a licence and breaching a number of management regulations. He received an £11,800 fine for both offences at Newcastle Magistrates Court and was ordered to pay £2,000 costs and a £195 victim surcharge.

Councillor Chris Robinson (pictured) cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning, says it takes complaints extremely seriously and won’t hesitate to take action.

“Bad landlords wreck lives and we are committed to putting a stop to that,” he adds. “We are pleased with the outcome of this case and hope it serves as a reminder to private landlords operating in Stoke-on-Trent of their responsibilities to provide safe, quality homes.”

This case is not an isolated incident as landlords around the country are illegally creating large, unsafe HMOs in response to the growing rental shortage and rising cost of living.

Cramming

Cramming more tenants into these unlicensed properties makes renting more affordable, but at the expense of health and safety.

Analysis by The Guardian suggests there are at least 32,000 hidden large HMOs across the country.

However, councils facing staffing shortages and budget shortfalls struggle to enforce licensing and housing laws. Many tenant and landlord groups argue that years of Conservative underfunding of affordable and social housing is driving the trend.

Read: An ultimate guide to renting out an HMO
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