Unlicensed Filton HMO landlord fined over £3,800

A Filton landlord has been fined over £3,800 for renting out an unsafe and unlicensed house in multiple occupation. Inspectors issued the landlord a penalty notice after a number of offences were identified at the two-storey terraced property housing five people.

The council team were first alerted to the property in June 2023 when a tenant complained to the council about the landlord failing to complete repairs following an E-bike fire that occurred after Easter. It was also reported that the property was occupied by five people as a HMO although no licence had been applied for.

The South Gloucestershire Council's Private Sector Housing Team carried out an inspection which confirmed that the property was being occupied as a HMO and identified a number of potentially dangerous defects. Fire and smoke damage was evident in the kitchen area of the property where an E-bike had been left on charge, during which the battery overheated and exploded.

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Avon Fire and Rescue Service attended swiftly to extinguish the fire and evacuate all occupants, resulting in no casualties.

An assessment confirmed that there were 'Category 1' hazards for fire and electrical hazards and a 'Category 2' hazard for lighting. A Civil Penalty Notice including a financial penalty of £3,883.

Councillor Sean Rhodes, cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health at South Gloucestershire Council, said: "I'm pleased to see this penalty and fine issued to the landlord, who showed no regard for the safety of the people who rented this property.

"The licensing of HMOs enables the council to check conditions and take action where housing and management standards are not met. In addition, checks are made to ensure licence holders and people involved in the management of the properties are fit and proper to do so. Failing to licence a property as in this case, can put the health and safety of tenants at risk.

"Where we identify unlicensed HMOs our Private Sector Housing Team will look to prosecute or use Civil Penalties against the owners or managers. Our message to the landlords of HMOs is simple; licence your properties before we find them."

South Gloucestershire has approximately 740 licensed HMOs which are well managed and provide good quality accommodation for professionals and students.