Unwitting landlord fined for HMO violations

Published: 31 May 2017

A landlord whose property became an HMO without her knowledge has been ordered to pay more than £3,300 after being prosecuted by Slough Borough Council.

Ms Robina Choudhry, who owns and is the landlord of 125 The Crescent, Slough was fined £750 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £73 and costs of £2,500 after pleading guilty to running a house in multiple occupation (HMO) without the required licence.

When council officers attended the property in August 2016 they found it to be an HMO, badly overcrowded with no fire safety precautions, leaving the tenants at risk of serious harm.

Ms Choudhry had rented the property as a single home to a friend who had then left the country, leaving the property with another tenant who had then added several lodgers including a family – effectively turning the house into an HMO.

Ms Choudhry, though having no knowledge of this, accepted that, as landlord, she was responsible for the property and everyone who was living in it.

Councillor Arvind Dhaliwal, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, said: “HMOs form a simple and affordable form of housing for many residents but they are required to be licenced and safe for people who live in them.

“Ms Choudhry was inattentive to her responsibilities as a landlord and ended up with an HMO she neither wanted nor needed.

“Unfortunately being a landlord isn’t something you can just be when you have a spare hour or two, as Ms Choudhry has discovered to her cost.”

Since the initial visit, the property has been completely emptied, refurbished and is now being let as a single family home.

Councillor Dhaliwal, added: “We are pleased Ms Choudhry responded so positively and has taken proactive measures to improve the property and be an attentive landlord.

“I hope this serves as a warning to other landlords to make sure they are paying attention to what is happening in their properties, as, ultimately, they will be held responsible.”

Ms Choudhry appeared at Reading Magistrates Court on Friday 12 May 2017.