Landlord prosecuted for unlicensed HMO
Following an investigation by Highland Council Environmental Health Officers, an Inverness Landlord has been successfully prosecuted for operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence. An HMO is a property in which three or more unrelated adults are residing as their main residence and require to share kitchen, toilet or personal washing facilities.
Mr Ken MacK, the owner of the property at 47 Montague Row, Inverness pled guilty and was fined £2000 at Inverness Sheriff Court on 3 February 2017.
Following receipt of complaints from tenants of Mr Mack, Highland Council Environmental Health officers visited his property at 47 Montague Row, Inverness and established that there were 5 residents residing in the property as their main residence and that the property failed to meet the Council’s adopted standards for HMO’s.
Despite repeated attempts to get the landlord to license the property and meet the required HMO standards, the landlord failed to engage with the investigating officers and continued to operate without a licence.
Councillor Ian Cockburn, Chair of the Licensing Committee said, ”Ultimately the HMO licensing scheme was introduced to protect tenants and help ensure properties are safe, and so it is important that the Council take’s action to protect tenants in these cases. I am pleased that in imposing this level of fine the court has reflected the importance of licensing and that owners should not seek to avoid applying. Therefore, I would encourage both landlords and tenants to contact the Council if they have any concerns about their property. Officers are here to help.”
Gregor MacCormick, Senior Environmental Health Officer, added: “We hope that the significant fine imposed in this case sends out a strong message to landlords that they must be licensed if their property is being occupied as an HMO. The Council considers it important to demonstrate to responsible landlords who have made the effort to comply with the legislation and bring their properties up to the required standard, that less responsible landlords are actively being pursued. The Environmental Health Service will continue to take action against those landlords who do not apply, so I would urge all owners and agents to ensure that their properties are meeting legal requirements.”
Should anyone have any concerns about a property that may be getting occupied as an HMO or poor standards within such accommodation, please phone the Council’s Environmental Health Service on 01349 886606 or visit the Highland Council website at: www.highland.gov.uk/environmentalhealth