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A Bedford landlord has been prosecuted for operating an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Bedford Borough Council prosecuted Mr Fhalora of Ampthill Road, Bedford, in January for failing to obtain an Additional HMO Licence for the property that he manages on behalf of its owner. Mr Fhalora lets out the Brackley Road property to tenants.
The landlord was found guilty in his absence after entering a not guilty plea. As a result of this, he was fined £2,500 by Luton Magistrates Court. He was also told that he must pay the council’s full costs of £8,911.12 along with a victim surcharge of £170.
Bedford Borough Council introduced the Additional HMO Licensing scheme in 2013. It applies to properties rented out to three or more unrelated tenants who share facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms. These types of properties are subject to additional regulation to give greater protection to tenants who reside in them. The licences require landlords to invest in their properties, making them safer and improving their state of repair.
Mr Fhalora had been reminded by the council’s Community Regulation Team that he was required to license the property under the Housing Act 2004. However, the court heard that the rogue landlord had failed to act on the advice he was given by the council. He potentially risked the safety of his tenants and neglected his responsibilities as a landlord.
Portfolio Holder for Community Safety & Regulatory Services, Councillor Colleen Atkins, said: ‘Bedford Borough Council prioritises the safety of its residents by ensuring the Borough’s private rented sector is effectively regulated. An Additional HMO Licence is required for HMOs which are occupied by three or more unrelated people who share certain facilities in the household such as a kitchen or bathrooms. Anyone who owns or manages an HMO can check with the Council to see if they need to have a licence.’