A letting agency in Oxford has been ordered to pay fines totalling £7,000 and costs of £1,140 after the City Council took it to court over an unlicensed and unsafe House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
The Letting Centre Oxford Ltd., based in the suburb of Headington, was prosecuted after environmental health officers discovered that it was managing an HMO that was unlicensed and did not comply with fire safety regulations.
Officers from Oxford City Council inspected the property in November 2014, which confirmed suspicions that it was unlicensed and unsafe. The house had a missing fire door and locks that would stop occupants escaping in the event of a fire.
Director of The Letting Centre Oxford Ltd., Darren Hazell, pleaded guilty to being in control of an unlicensed HMO and was handed a fine of £5,000 for failing to obtain a license. He also admitted to one breach of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and received a fine of £2,000.
Additionally, the court ordered the agency to pay the Council’s full costs of £1,140 for bringing the case to court.
An Oxford City Council spokesperson says: “The City Council requires all HMOs to be licensed in order to raise standards in properties as well as their management. We will take action against landlords who fail to comply with legal requirements to license and maintain HMOs to acceptable standards.”1