£30k fine for landlord without HMO licences

A Liverpool landlord has been fined £30,000 for failing to obtain licences for two properties housing students.

Trophy Homes Limited, based on Sandown Lane in L15, has pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court to failing to apply for an HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupation) licence for the homes, located on Silvester Street in Vauxhall and Highgate Street in Edge Hill.

At the hearing on Thursday 2 February, District Judge Hatton described the company as “poorly run” with a clear lack of regard for tenants by failing to obtain licences and comply with their legal obligations.

In court, the council’s legal team said there had been “a blatant disregard” for the obligations that come with being in control of HMOs.

The properties had issues with safety and poor management due to ineffective fire doors, overflowing drainage in the shared living room and intermittent electricity and gas supplies. A manhole had been placed over a hole in the lounge of the Highgate Street property.

The company was aware of the legislation as it had been found guilty of a previous breach of the legislation in February 2020 when it was fined £45,000 for similar offences.

Trophy Homes Limited was fined £15,000 for each property, plus costs of £904.43 and a victim surcharge of £190.

Referencing the previous convictions, District Judge James Hatton stated that the company had not learned its lesson with respect to licensing offences and described the company as one that was “not very well run” and demonstrated a “lack of regard, lack of compliance and a lack of cooperation”.

Information regarding the licensing of HMO properties can be found here: https://liverpool.gov.uk/business/landlord-licensing/houses-in-multiple-occupancy/hmo-licence-guidance/

Cabinet Member for Strategic Housing and Development, Cllr Sarah Doyle, said, “Trophy Homes Limited was happy to take the rent from students, yet provided them with sub-standard accommodation that put them at risk of injury, or much worse.

“I am pleased that the court has imposed a substantial fine which will hopefully persuade the firm to change it ways and comply with the law in future.

“Our recently launched Landlord Licensing scheme gives us the capacity to really step up our ability to inspect private sector rental properties, and take action when it is needed.

“We won’t hesitate to step in when we have evidence of rogue landlords giving tenants a raw deal, and I would urge anyone who does have any information to report it via our website at liverpool.gov.uk so that we can carry out an investigation.”

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