No tolerance for HMO failings with huge fines issued

Two separate investigations in Camden and Mansfield involving unlicensed Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) led to sanctions for landlords and agents. West Northamptonshire is the latest council to announce a crackdown on unregulated and poorly managed properties.


Serious fire safety failings

In July 2023 Camden Council brought charges under the Housing Act 2004 and the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 after inspectors discovered partitions had been used to create two extra bedrooms without adequate fire escape routes, fire detection or fire-resistant doors.

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28 Apr 2021
HMO fines underpin need to take fire safety seriously

There has been a series of high-profile fines for landlords and HMO property companies for offences relating to fire and electrical safety, highlighting the importance of using legitimate, well-trained, and responsible letting agents manage property.

Sub-standard accommodation

In Mansfield, the local authority chose to impose a civil penalty of £17,000 on a private landlord in June 2023, after a complaint of overcrowding. They inspected the property and found it was being let to six tenants as an HMO without a license.

Mansfield Council stated that the cost of an HMO license in the area – starting from around £725 and lasting for five years – is a good deal less than any penalty they may have to pay for trying to circumvent the law.

Root and branch crackdown

West Northamptonshire’s proposed plan to address issues around HMOs includes measures to tackle litter and rubbish, monitoring the general maintenance of properties, reviewing room sizes and amenities for tenants, and maintaining a register of licensed HMOs.

HMOs are a beneficial part of the housing supply, particularly for people on low incomes, key workers and students – but unlicensed and poorly managed properties are a concern for many residents.

Know your HMOs

The rules around letting HMOs are complicated and can be a significant challenge for individual landlords to understand and comply with. The history of high-profile fines related to HMO landlords and agents highlights the value of using legitimate, well-trained and responsible letting agents to manage property.

Propertymark supports members with a range of fact sheets, resources and training to help them to stay up to date with legislation and best practice in HMO management, on top of the professional qualifications they hold as a condition of their membership.  

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Fact sheet: Installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Landlords are required to install and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties. This is part of the Government’s plans to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector.

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Fact sheet: Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

In May 2015, the UK Government announced that they would extend mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to address poor conditions and overcrowding.