Over the past few years, HMO landlords in Chelmsford have had a lot more legislation to deal with if they want to let their property legally.
That has meant that more penalties can be levied on HMO landlords who fail to comply with the regulations.
It’s certainly a bit of a minefield, so our team at Charles David Casson are here to give you some helpful advice, so that you can stay legal and avoid costly fines.
What Types of Penalties and Fines Can Be Levied?
A significant increase in the amount that HMO landlords could be fined came into play. Councils were awarded power to levy much larger fines on any landlord that breaches the regulations at this time.
There was a huge jump in the maximum amount of civil penalty that could be imposed for any type of violation, from £5,000 all the way to £30,000, and court proceedings wouldn’t be necessary.
Not only that, but “rogue” databases were also introduced for both agents and landlords which placed a focus strongly on finding those flouting the law and penalising them.
England brought banning orders into force for any rogue letting agent or landlord who breached certain regulations. Not only would they receive a fine and a ban from letting, but their details would also be added to the “rogue” database which could be searched by local authorities.
Furthermore, in some circumstances, tenants were given the right to make an application to the court for a Rent Repayment Order that could mean the landlord having to pay them back as much as a year’s-worth of rent. The judge may award the tenant compensation and the landlord could even be sent to prison.
One further change that affects landlords is that, if they fail to present their tenants with certain documentation, including an EPC copy and Gas Safety certificate, they may be prevented from evicting them in the future if they breach the tenancy agreement.
So, HMO landlords have a lot to think about!
Which Are the Most Common Breaches?
There are five common breaches:
- Compliance failure with the gas safety laws. This can result in a fine of £6000 and may also result in six-months’ imprisonment.
- Breach of electrical safety laws. This can result in fines of as much as £30,000.
- Renting out a house of multiple occupation without an appropriate licence. This can result in a fine of an unlimited amount, with the tenants being eligible to make an application for a Rent Repayment Order.
- A breach of the “Right to Rent” laws and renting to somebody who isn’t legally entitled to reside in England. This can result in a fine of £1000 for the first offence, or £3000 for subsequent offences. Imprisonment may even be a penalty in the most serious cases.
- A breach of the Tenancy Fees Act. This can result in a fine of as much as £5000 in the first instance, but for a second offence within five years, the fine is unlimited.
Understandably, this can appear overwhelming, and a little frightening, however, as a HMO landlord you must keep on top of your responsibilities.
How Can I Avoid Being Penalised As A HMO Landlord?
As an HMO landlord in Chelmsford the best way of ensuring you are always complying with the relevant legislation is by using a professional agency.
At Charles David Casson we offer a comprehensive management service, with a trained and experienced team who are up to date with the latest changes in the law.
Get in touch with us today on 01245 835859 and find out more about how we can help you to remain compliant and avoid penalties.