Hastings Borough Council has successfully prosecuted a property freeholder for breaching management regulations for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
As part of the council’s Coastal Space enforcement project, council officers undertook a proactive inspection of a house in multiple occupation at 49 Carisbrooke Road, where they identified a number of problems regarding the management of the property.
Hastings Magistrates Court heard evidence on May 12 of multiple breaches of the Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations relating to the property.
A total of 18 offences were brought before the magistrates including issues such as poor means of escape in the event of a fire, lack of safety checks on the electrical installation and poor decorative repair of the property, including loose and missing handrails to stairs, damp penetration and loose and worn carpets.
The freeholder of the property, Tom Wallace of Boscobel Road, St Leonards, did not attend the court and was found guilty in absence of all 18 offences.
He was fined £1,500 for each offence, with £960 legal costs and £150 victim surcharge, making a total fine of £28,110.
Andrew Palmer, the council’s assistant director for housing and built environment, said: “There are many very good and responsible landlords in the town.
“However, the council has a duty to protect tenants where they might be exploited by less scrupulous property owners.
“Management legislation ensures a level playing field for all and establishes agreed standards that should be met by all landlords and property owners.
“Inevitably this will lead to prosecutions if landlords fail to comply with the legislation.
“It is preferable if landlords adhere to management conditions without the necessity of taking court action.”