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Landlord fined £15k for unlicensed houses and poor standards

Landlord fined for unlicensed HMOs

A High Wycombe landlord who was found to be letting out unlicensed properties which were also in need of repair has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,134 and a victim surcharge of £170 – a total of £17,304. 

On Wednesday 29 January Mr Ruksar Ahmed, 49, of Cedar Avenue, Hazlemere pleaded guilty to nine charges put before Wycombe Magistrates’ Court:

  • failure to licence two houses in multiple occupation (HMO)
  • seven breaches of The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 relating to conditions

The breaches were:

  • a hole in a wall to the cavity behind a shower
  • dangerous electrics in a shower room
  • a trip hazard in the means of escape
  • rubbish left in a communal garden
  • broken window fittings in a room occupied by children
  • a damaged fire alarm
  • a damaged cooker head

Mr Ahmed came to the attention of Wycombe District Council as the owner of an unlicensed HMO in February 2019. He was asked to apply for a licence which he did.

However, in his application Mr Ahmed failed to disclose further licensable HMOs and gave a correspondence address that was found subsequently to be a second unlicensed HMO owned and managed by him.

When confronted, Mr Ahmed failed to disclose a third HMO, which was discovered through further investigations.

Cllr Julia Langley, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We won’t hesitate to take legal action when a landlord flouts the rules like this.

“Unlicensed HMOs often have some of the worst housing conditions in the district and often house some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“We suspect there are still a number of unlicensed HMOs within the district and so we welcome and act on all intelligence.”

Landlords and managers are welcome at any time to ask for advice about licensing or works required in HMOs by emailing hmolicensing.wyc@buckinghamshire.gov.uk or by calling 01494 421777.

Wycombe District Council has also undertaken high profile, proactive street-by-street action to identify HMOs, leading to the successful identification of a number of unlicensed premises and improved conditions for tenants. Further activity is planned for the near future.

Since 1 October 2018 the council has issued 163 applications and carried out 471 visits.

Anyone suspecting an unlicensed HMO can report it to hmolicensing.wyc@buckinghamshire.gov.uk or call 01494 421777.

Legislation came into place on 1 October 2018 requiring all HMOs with five or more occupants living as two or more households to have a licence. The change was widely publicised in national media and by landlord associations.