An Oxford landlord was fined £21,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,869 for renting out houses in multiple occupation (HMO) without a licence when he appeared before Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Mon
Mr Mohammed Yousef of Iffley Road, Oxford, was prosecuted after two of his properties on Dene Road were found to be HMOs, with up to eight people occupying each of the two-storey properties. Apart from the two properties on Dene Road, the 58 year-old also owns three other properties on Essex Street, Percy Street and Argyle Street. The council began its investigation into Mr Yousef’s operation of unlicensed HMOs in May 2015 when he failed to renew licences for properties within his portfolio.
The two properties on Dene Road were found to be poorly maintained and had never been licensed by the council. Mr Yousef failed to respond to the council’s requests to submit a valid application for an HMO licence.
For one of the properties on Dene Road, he was found guilty of five breaches of the HMO management regulations and fined £1000 per breach. Mr Yousef had failed to maintain the property’s common areas, including the bathroom which suffered from damp, mould growth, and leaking pipework.
The other Dene Road property was also badly maintained, with bathroom flooring in poor condition and wall tiles peeling off. Mr Yousef was found guilty of four breaches of the HMO management regulations and fined £1000 per breach including failing to display his details in a prominent location within the HMO.
He was fined a total of £12,000 for the operation of unlicensed HMOs. Apart from his £21,000 fine, Mr Yousef was also told to pay surcharges and the council’s full costs totalling £4,869 for bringing the case to court.
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “Some landlords are taking advantage of the city’s housing shortage to rent out unlicensed and badly maintained properties to multiple occupants. We introduced the HMO licensing scheme, and have renewed it for a further five years, to raise standards in the city’s private rental sector and promote the health and wellbeing of tenants.
Where landlords fail to license their properties or uphold acceptable management standards, we will investigate such cases and prosecute offenders. I am pleased by the substantial fine charged in this particular case as it serves as a deterrent to other landlords who are operating unlicensed HMOs or considering doing so.”