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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My mother's house recently got a letter from city council

Customer Question

Hi
My mother's house recently got a letter from city council that it has breach the HMO(House of Multiple Occupation) law as it's renting out more than four people in a three storey house, so it need a licence but my mother does not have it, she bought this house two years ago, did not stay long before leaving for another city, so she rent it out. After we read the Law(House Act 2004) provided by the council, we find that in my mum's situation, she do need the licence, but she didn't know this before getting the letter from the council, she did follow every steps as instructed by the council to fix the problem, however, she do not know whether she would be directly be fined with 20,000GBP, or she would just get a warning from the council at this stage? She has stopped all the rentting out activitiy and arranged the tenants to move out the property in one week time after getting the message/warning from the council, if she has 100% comply with the instruction by the council, would she still face the council's prosecution? There are many such prosecution reported on the news, but most of the case, the landlord ignored the warning from the council, so is there definitely a warning before the council take any legal action? Many thanks for this, it's really important to us!
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 5 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

Are they asking her to apply for a licence or say they will prosecute?

Alex

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
the letter said:"Under section 72(1), a person commits an offence if he is a person having control of ormanaging an House in Multiple Occupation which is required to be licensed but is not solicensed. A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on summaryconviction to a fine not exceeding £20,000. The council is investigating whether anoffence may have been committed under this section in relation to the property" basically we just want to ask about the process, any expert who know the legal process would be helpful. The first time they send notice to say there is an offence, then what action will be taken?
Expert:  Ash replied 5 months ago.

Is there a licence now?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
We just got the notice 10 days ago, so now start to prepare to comply with the council. my mother is not aware of the HMO related laws, and it's the first time she got such a notice, so would this directly involve law suite, or there is a process of warning, prohibitation order etc, only if the landlord do not comply, then there would be prosecution? Basially my question is, what is the procedure of the enforcement of HMO laws? many thanks!
Expert:  Ash replied 5 months ago.

Ok - well not knowing is not a defence. As a Landlord it is up to them to make sure they comply with the law.

She should apply to get a licence asap. She can still be prosecuted, but the its likely that if there is a licence they wont prosecute.

Even if they did prosecute it would be a small fine, it certainly wouldnt be £20,000.

But its up to a Landlord to make sure they comply with the law.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Alex, the house is already empty, after getting the notice, my mum has re-arranged the accommodation for all the tenants, no continue offence, and no need for licence. And when I read the cases available online, seems all the prosecution happen only if the landlord ignored the warning, do you know any case that a landlord was identified operating HMOs without licence, but because he comply with the council request, so he is not put in prosecution? My question in general is that in my mother's case, would she face prosecution or face a warning in the next step. many thanks!
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
https://www.leicester.gov.uk/news/news-story-details/?nId=88535 several cases shows that there are warnings before actual prosecution, so I really need to know how this law is enforced. many thanks!
Expert:  Ash replied 5 months ago.

How the law is enforced is Council dependant. Different Councils have different policies. Some prosecute regardless but generally because of the cost its only where the Landlord just ignores everything.

So there is no conclusive advice on way or another as it depends on each Council

Does that clarify? Alex

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Alex, I must say that we might need a more clear answer, we definitely know that it's the council to decide the next step. Do you know any real cases on the HMO Licence enforcement procedure? Many thanks
Expert:  Ash replied 5 months ago.

You can't know, I can't know. You need to ask the Council for a copy of their policy on prosecution.

Then and ONLY then can you know. Otherwise it would be simply a guess.

Does that clarify the position? Alex

Expert:  Ash replied 5 months ago.

If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer 3, 4 or 5 starts before you leave today.

I am only paid for my work on this question if you rate my answer, using the star system at the top of the screen. Please do not forget! Thank you.

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