An Oxford man has been found guilty of ignoring a legal request from the city council for information stating whether he was responsible for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
He appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday 9 November 2015.
Mr Edward Chand, of 38 Garsington Road, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £750 for his failure to supply information in relation to his property in Coleridge Close, Oxford.
Following a referral from Children’s Social Services, council officers inspected the property in March 2015 and established that it was an unlicensed HMO. The house was overcrowded, with five adults and four children sharing four bedrooms.
It was also in a very poor condition, with the smoke detector not working and a kitchen fire door missing. The bedroom doors could not be opened from the inside without the use of a key, furniture obstructed the means of escape and there was mould in the bathroom. The house had broken windows and a badly maintained kitchen.
Failing to license an HMO and to manage it to acceptable standards are both offences under housing laws. The council served a Requisition for Information notice on Mr Chand to establish who was responsible for the HMO. His failure to return the notice hindered the council’s investigation into his offences of running an unlicensed HMO and failing to manage it to the required standards.
Mr Chand’s brings to 45 the number of cases the council has successfully prosecuted for HMO related offences since the licensing scheme was introduced in 2011.
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “Tenants in HMOs have the right to safe, healthy and good quality accommodation. The City Council is working with landlords to raise standards across the sector and there have been significant improvements.
"But where rogue landlords buck the regulations and try to avoid the requirements which are designed to protect tenants we will take immediate action to enforce the standards that are established in the law.
"Failure to return enquiry forms with the required information frustrates the council’s investigations into serious offences and we will prosecute such landlords.”