A Newport landlord has been fined thousands of pounds after breaching housing legislation with his rental property, making him the first to fall victim to a breach of Rent Smart Wales.
Robert Grovell was prosecuted by Newport City Council following an inspection of a property that he was letting as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). A number of issues were revealed during the inspection, which took place in December 2016, including a blocked fire escape.
It was then found that Grovell had failed to register the property as a House in Multiple Occupation. Since November 2016 it has been illegal for landlords and agents to leave rental properties unregistered. This is part of the Rent Smart Wales legislation, with Grovell the first in Wales to be convicted under the new law.
He appeared at Newport Magistrates Court on Friday, May 19. Grovell admitted to breaching the Housing (Wales) Act and was fined a total of £4,550. The landlord was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.
Operational manager of Rent Smart Wales Bethan Jones dubbed the case ‘a real milestone’. She said: ‘This prosecution sends a strong message to other non-compliant landlords who continue to flout the law and those who haven’t complied should come forward now to avoid action against them.’
The council’s cabinet member for licensing and regulation Councillor Ray Truman also commented: ‘This was a serious breach of regulations covering a house in multiple occupation where the residents were put at risk because of the landlord’s failure to comply with essential regulations aimed at keeping people safe in their home. This court case should also remind landlords of the need to license houses in multiple occupation. Failing to do so could end up with an unlimited fine being imposed by the court.’