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Cambridge landlords fined more than £8,000 over unlicensed houses in multiple occupation

Three Cambridge landlords have been fined more than £8,000 after three separate houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) were found to be unlicensed by the city council.

Following a review of council records in February, a house in Chesterton Road was found to have been home to five tenants as an unlicensed HMO since 2018.

Cambridge City Council’s HQ at The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge
Cambridge City Council’s HQ at The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge

It means the home was potentially unsafe for the tenants.

The council used its enforcement powers to issue a civil penalty as an alternative to prosecution, and on July 4 the directors of the company owning the property were issued with a financial penalty notice totalling £1,898.73.

The council inspected a second house in Victoria Road in February, discovering it was hoe to seven tenants and had been an unlicensed HMO since at least 2014. The landlord was issued with a £3,535.89 penalty notice on July 19.

A proactive inspection of a home in the Buchan Street area in February revealed it had not been licensed since October 2018, so the landlord was issued on July 26 with a penalty notice for £2,549.65.

As well as serving the notices, the council team ensured other deficiencies within the properties were remedied.

Mandatory HMO licences have now been granted with an additional condition requiring the owners to undertake recognised landlord training within six months.

All three landlords have paid in full and the income received will help fund the council’s enforcement activities in the private rented sector.

The council can consider whether an individual is a ‘fit and proper’ licence holder for an HMO and, where a landlord or property manager receives two or more civil penalties in a 12-month period, details can be put on to a national database of rogue landlords and property agents.

Cllr Gerri Bird (Lab, West Chesterton), executive councillor for housing, said: “We hope that this enforcement action will set an example to the small minority of landlords in Cambridge who provide unsafe or poor quality accommodation in the city and fail to get the mandatory licences.

“We will continue to protect the health and safety of tenants in the private rental sector, and help drive up standards, by taking enforcement action when landlords fail to comply with the law.”

HMO licence rules were extended by the Housing Act 2004 in 2018.

To discuss concerns over an HMO, contact Cambridge City Council’s residential team on 01223 457000 or email residential.eh@cambridge.gov.uk.

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