A 35 year-old Oxford landlord was handed fines totalling £3,250 and costs of £1,426 for running an unlicensed and unsafe House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) when he appeared before Oxford Magistrates'
Mohammed Waqas Anwar of Oxford Road, Kidlington, was prosecuted after the Council's environmental health officers found that he owned and managed the rental of an HMO in Ridgefield Road, Oxford, that was unlicensed and failed to comply with fire safety and other requirements.
When the officers visited the property on 18 November 2014, they found four occupants living in the house, which had broken smoke alarms, a missing fire door and locks on doors that could stop occupants escaping in the event of a fire. The house was in poor repair, with damaged bathroom tiles, a filthy shower and mouldy walls.
Mr Anwar pleaded guilty to being in control of an unlicensed HMO and received a fine of £2,000 for failing to obtain a licence. He also pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and received a separate fine of £1,250. In addition, the magistrates ordered Mr Anwar to pay the Council’s full costs of £1,426 for bringing the case to court.
Mr Anwar's conviction brings to 11 the number of HMO cases the Council has successfully prosecuted this year.
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, says: "Since introducing the HMO licensing scheme in 2011 we have licensed nearly 3,500 properties in the city. Landlords have invested over £3.2 million in HMOs to improve standards and provide better housing for residents.
The council is planning to extend the scheme for a further five years and would like to encourage all landlords whose properties do not currently have licences to contact us. We will of course take action against landlords who fail to comply with the legal requirements to license and maintain HMOs to an acceptable and safe standard."