A Twickenham landlord is facing fines of almost £5,000 after renting out his property as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) without the correct licensing.
Landlord Maksin Arnautov purchased the Whitton Road property in 2012. He also resides in the home. An investigation carried out by the council last year found that more than five people were living in the property. However, Arnutov did not have a licence.
The Housing Act 2004 states that properties with three or more storeys which are also rented out to five or more people require a HMO licence. Despite the property breaching these conditions, the appropriate licensing had not been purchased.
During a hearing at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on January 9, Arnautov was found guilty of operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence. The Twickenham landlord was subsequently fined £3,000 and must also pay a victim surcharge of £170 and £1,466 to the council in compensation.
Richmond Council’s cabinet member for housing, public health and community safety, Councillor Mark Boyle, commented on the case: ‘Following an investigation by council officers, this is a great result. This prosecution sends out a clear message that unscrupulous individuals cannot hide. It is our job to protect tenants’ safety and we will take appropriate enforcement action if landlords fail to obtain a licence or manage their properties. I am pleased that the courts are supporting the council in this approach through the sentence and fine issued. The growing issue of HMOs in our borough continues to be a problem. And whilst we will continue all our work on the ground, we will continue to make it clear to the Government that it must prioritise action over HMOs before sub-standard, over-crowded housing, and all its flow-on effects begin to impact the character and quality of life within our borough.’